Bamako - Impending knee surgery has ruled Mali striker Cheick Tidiane Diabate out of the African Nations Cup and for the next four months, his French club Girondins Bordeaux said.
Diabate, who helped Mali to third-place finishes at the last two Nations Cups, made the decision to undergo surgery after consultation with doctors who felt an operation "was essential to the success of the rest of his career", a club statement said.
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Diabate is the top scorer for Bordeaux this season despite playing irregularly because of ongoing pain in the knee.
Mali have yet to name a replacement in their 23-man squad for the tournament, which starts on Jan. 17. They are in Group D with Cameroon, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.