The fight broke out in a media area during the Sydney tournament on Monday and was caught on camera as Serbia Sasa Cado was interviewed. Serbia defeated Mali 81-68.
A short video clip that has since been widely watched online shows Mali’s Salimatou Kourouma throwing at least three punches at teammate Kamite Elizabeth Dabou as a shocked Cado retreated.
Other Malian players shouting “stop” rushed to intervene and interrupt the fight.
The two players held a press conference after their final game of the tournament, an 88-65 loss to Canada in which they both participated and apologized.
WATCH: Mali players face off at Women’s Basketball World Cup https://t.co/D91ewq10zu
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“We are here to apologize for the image that was on social media, it was not our intention,” Dabou said as they sat side by side.
“We were frustrated with the loss and we are here to apologize to all of FIBA. basketball World Cup. We are sorry.”
They didn’t answer any questions.
FIBA said it was investigating and once concluded “will decide on any applicable disciplinary action”.
Coach Joaquin Brizuela called the fight a “sad incident”.
“They are two of our key players and although it was a sad incident, it was more because they wanted to play basketball at a higher level, and they showed that today,” he said. he declared through an interpreter.
“We learned a lot playing this tournament.”
Mali have not won any of their five games after qualifying for their second World Cup as a late replacement for Nigeria, who withdrew citing administrative difficulties around the sport in their country.