Sylla was committed at U21 level by France before pledging himself to Mali.
"The Mali manager asked me to play in the build-up to the World Cup finals," he told Villa's website.
"I realised I had more chance of playing international football by doing that because there are so many top players in France.
"Unfortunately, we didn't qualify for Brazil but I don't regret my decision.
"It should be an excellent tournament and I will enjoy watching our players."
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