Serbia basketball stars interview disrupted as Mali teammates fight

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The FIBA Women’s World Cup basketball match between Mali and Serbia descended into chaos afterwards as teammates brawled with each other. After helping her side to an 81-68 win, Serbia’s Sasa Cado was being interviewed in the mixed zone when she suddenly halted the chat, with opposition players fighting each other just yards away.

The defeat meant elimination for Mali, irrespective of their result in their final group match with Canada on Tuesday morning. And with tensions clearly running high, Salimatou Kourouma aggressively went for teammate Elisabeth Dabou.

Fellow players tried to pull them apart, as Cado cut her interview and looked on visibly stunned. Inevitably, FIBA have now confirmed they will be investigating the unsavoury scenes, which soon went viral on social media.

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

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It means Mali’s World Cup nightmare is not yet over, having lost all five of their group games. Their final clash against the Canadians culminated in an 88-65 defeat, meaning they’ll finish rock bottom of Group B.

Sports reporter Olatunde Liadi summed things up with: “Malian players fought among themselves in front of media at the Women’s Basketball World Cup ffter Mali lost 81-68 to Serbia on Monday to register their fourth straight defeat. Their fans might have thought their campaign could not get any worse.”

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The African side were only playing in the tournament in Australia after African champions Nigeria, who beat their rivals in last year’s Women’s Afrobasket, were withdrawn from the tournament by their government owing to internal issues. And the latest controversy follows a harrowing 2021 in Malian basketball, with a report outlining allegations of sexual abuse in the country’s women’s game.

Serbia meanwhile, were lying third ahead of their final league match with France on Tuesday. Sydney Superdome. The French were in second ahead of the game at the Sydney Superdome.

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