FIBA begins probe after Mali players’ fight


Basketball’s world governing body has opened an investigation after players on the Mali women’s team were filmed physically fighting one another following their World Cup loss to Serbia in Sydney.
The scuffle between Salimatou Kourouma and Kamite Elisabeth Dabou broke out during a post-match interview with Serbia’s Sasa Cado in the mixed zone and was captured by a Serbian news camera.
Kourouma is contracted with Stade Malien, a professional team based in Mali‘s capital city Bamako, while Dabou plays for Centre Dorinthie Basket.
The brief, caught-on-camera scuffle took place in the postgame media area after the team was defeated 81-68 by Serbia, video posted online and social media shows.
One player even attempted to connect on a few haymakers before other teammates rushed in to break up the ugly situation, according to the footage that was captured by Serbian media during a player interview.
A Fiba spokesperson confirmed it was aware of the incident.
“FIBA acknowledged today that there was an altercation between Mali players in the mixed zone following the Group B game Serbia-Mali at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022,” said a statement provided to Guardian Australia.
“Following the incident, FIBA has opened an investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, FIBA will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures.”
Mali qualified for their second World Cup as a late replacement for Nigeria, who pulled out citing administrative difficulties around the sport in their country.
The lowest-ranked side at the tournament at No 37 in the world, Mali have lost their first four games of the tournament and are no longer in contention for the knockout stage. Both Kourouma and Dabou are averaging less than 10 points per game as the woeful Mali team lost each of their four games by an average of 30 points.
Earlier in the tourney, they lost by an astounding 60 points to Australia.
They have been somewhat competitive in patches but a 118-58 loss to Australia was a low point. They are still to play Group B co-leaders Canada, who were undefeated until Monday night’s thrilling three-point defeat to the Opals.
The African country originally didn’t even have the opportunity to compete on the world stage, but was a late entry to replace Nigeria, which had administrative issues.
Mali wraps up their tournament Tuesday against Canada.
If they win it would be the first World Cup victory for the country since 2010 when the team went 1-4.