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Mali internationals voice concerns over political rift

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Calls for peace from sports lovers, especially footballers have had very little impact on the situation in the West African country. Cédric Kanté, captain of Mali national football team, is particularly not confident that things will change in his country for the better.

“I don’t believe the stakeholders of the conflict would heed our calls as footballers,” the 32-year-old player told France Football in an interview

“The Tuareg rebels will not listen to our calls for peace. I’m very sure of that. They have decided to cut themselves away to form another country, which is very sad for us as Malians. I wish politicians could listen to sportspeople.” He lamented.

And he is not alone in this state of mind. French-born Sigamary Diarra of FC Lorient who joined the Mali national team in 2004, has also voiced what is in the hearts of many Malians.

“It all happened so sudden and everybody back seems to still be in a shock,” Diarra said. “It’s like waking up one cool morning and seeing your country being split in two, with refugees trooping out to neighbouring countries,” the midfielder added.

“We don’t know when this will all end for good, but there is little hope that a solution will be reached soon. We are as depressed as our families back home,” he said.

The players all wish for peace and calm to return to Mali so that they can prepare for the 2013 Afcon cup and the 2014 World cup qualifiers.

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