Africa Union

Women’s Basketball World Cup: Fiba launch investigation after fight breaks out among Mali players

Basketball's world governing body has launched an investigation after a fight broke out among Mali players at the Women's World Cup in Australia.

One member of the team attacked a team-mate in the mixed zone, where reporters interview players, after their 81-68 defeat by Serbia on Monday.

The result saw Mali eliminated from the tournament after their fourth defeat.

As others interjected to break up the fight, the incident was caught on camera by Serbian television.

In a statement, Fiba said: "Following the incident, Fiba has opened an investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, Fiba will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures."

Serbia's Sasa Cado, who was being interviewed at the time, looked visibly shocked, taking a step back as Salimatou Kourouma threw at least three punches at Kamite Elisabeth Dabou.

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On Tuesday, following Mali's 88-65 defeat by Canada, Kourouma apologised during a press conference.

"We're here to apologise for the image that was going [around] on social media. It was not our intention," she said.

"We were frustrated because of the loss. So we're here to apologise to the whole of the basketball Fiba World Cup. We are sorry for the image."

The tournament in Sydney has been hugely frustrating for the Malians, who are one of two sides at the 12-team finals that are yet to win a game, following previous losses against Japan, hosts Australia and France.

Mali are only playing in the tournament after African champions Nigeria, who beat their fellow West Africans in last year's Women's Afrobasket, were withdrawn from the tournament by their government owing to issues in Nigerian basketball.

Malian basketball has also faced considerable challenges in recent times, with a report in 2021 outlining 'decades' of sexual abuse in the country's women's game.

The report was commissioned by Fiba, which cleared its president – Malian Hamane Niang – of neglecting the abuse while he led the Malian basketball federation between 1999 and 2007.

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