Basketball World Cup qualifiers: the Eagles boycott the match against Uganda for non-payment of their bonuses

For reasons of non-payment of their bonuses, the senior men’s national basketball team of Mali declared, on Friday 1uh July, package against Uganda. This meeting is part of the 3e basketball world cup qualifying window (FIBA2023).

Mali’s senior men’s national basketball team failed to appear against Uganda on the Kigali Arena floor in Rwanda. The Eagles stayed in their hotel to protest the non-payment of their bonuses, which have not been paid for years.

According to our information, the players had alerted the Malian basketball federation well before the start of the tournament. “They even skipped training for 48 hours “, report several concordant sources. Which was a way for them to put pressure on the Malian football federation. The Eagles subsequently resumed training with the promise that the bonuses would be paid before their first match.

It is on the basis of this promise that the players agreed to travel to Kigaly where they arrived on Wednesday June 29. A commitment that the Malian basketball federation and the ministry of youth and sports have not kept. This prompted the players to boycott the first match against Uganda, which thus won on green carpet 20 to 0.

Embraced, the Malian basketball federation assures in a press release “ that in addition to the selection bonuses received, the international transport of the competition and the greening in Bamako have been entirely supported by the supervisory department “. The governing body of basketball in Mali which seems to clear customs, the ministry of sports does not however say that the arrears of bonuses have been paid. Which doesn’t solve the root of the problem.

A recurrent issue

We want a change at the level of the Malian basketball federation and at the Ministry of Sports. We want a little respect demanded the team captain in a video posted on social media. Accompanied by several of his teammates, Ibrahim Jambo denounced the broken promises of the authorities in charge of the ball in the basket. This bounty business has existed, according to him, for years. ” This must stop “, he warns.

The problem of payment of player bonuses is a recurring problem in Mali. We remember that in 2021, Touty Gandega renounced the national senior women’s basketball team for the reasons of non-payment of the 2019 Afro basketball bonuses. She also spoke on Twitter following of the players’ strike. “No bonuses, no matches YOU WILL UNDERSTAND QUICKLY!! Strength to our GUYS 🤝🏾!! Senior Men’s National Team huh… you are hurting our athletes…”.

Football is not spared either. In 2021, the Eagles almost did not play the last meeting of the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers for the same reasons. They even boycotted a training session in order to put pressure on sports officials.

In addition, the team traveled to Rwanda without some of the players who remained in Bamako for administrative reasons. A player was able to return to Kigaly on Friday. The head coach, an expatriate, who has not received his salary for months, remained in France. The team is led by its local assistants.

Finally, it should be added that in addition to Uganda, Mali must face Nigeria and Cape Verde. The Eagles, who were very well on their way to qualifying for the last round of the basketball world cup qualifiers, simply compromised their chance with this defeat on green carpet against Uganda.

Abdrahamane SISSOKO/

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