FIBA investigates scuffle between teammates at women’s World Cup

FIBA has opened an investigation into a fight between two Mali players following their loss to Serbia at the FIBA Women’s World Cup on Monday.

Malian players Salimatou Kourouma and Kamite Elisabeth Dabou were caught on camera wrestling and throwing wild punches at each other on the edge of the media zone at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre after their side fell to its fourth-consecutive loss.

The media zone is a walk-through area next to the court where players stop for post-game interviews on the way to the locker room and has bright TV lights and a World Cup sponsor board.

A Serbian journalist was interviewing Serbia’s Sasa Cado when the noise from the scuffle made the player jump back, with the camera panning to capture several wild punches being thrown as teammates attempted to separate the players.

Mali was only invited to the World Cup after Nigeria self-suspended itself from international play after a series of feuds with FIBA over the national government’s influence over their basketball federation.

Nigeria had already comfortably qualified and would have posed stiff competition as it has several players who play in top leagues or US college basketball.

Salimatou Kourouma and Maimouna Haidara look to secure a rebound in Mali’s game with Japan earlier in the World Cup tournament.Credit:Getty Images

“FIBA acknowledged today that there was an altercation between Mali players in the mixed zone following the Group B game Serbia and Mali at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022,” FIBA said in a statement.

“Following the incident, FIBA has opened an investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, FIBA will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures.”

Mali will play its final game today against Canada at 4pm AEST, meaning any penalty will come post-tournament.

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