List of all AFCON players set to miss Premier League action


FOOTBALL List of all AFCON players set to miss Premier League action

Festus Chuma 16:08 - 05.01.2024

Premier League clubs face key player departures as AFCON 2023 looms, altering league dynamics and creating challenges for managers.

The English Premier League is gearing up for a turbulent January and February as the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) takes center stage, with several clubs set to feel the impact as they bid farewell to key players representing their nations on the continental stage.

This sudden shift in player availability will undoubtedly shake up the league, leaving fans and managers on the edge of their seats, wondering how their teams will cope with the absence of some of their brightest stars.

There is also a double whammy for some teams as the Asian Cup is also set to take place between Friday 12 January to Saturday 10 February.

The AFCON 2023 was initially scheduled to be held in June and July to avoid overlapping with the European club calendar, but concerns over adverse weather conditions in Ivory Coast forced a rescheduling, pushing the tournament to run from 13 January to 11 February. This change has thrown a curveball to Premier League clubs, particularly those who rely heavily on African talent.

One club that will keenly feel the absence of their top player is Liverpool. The Merseyside giants will be without their Egyptian magician, Mohamed Salah, who will be representing Egypt in his fourth AFCON tournament. Liverpool will also miss the services of midfield stalwart Wataru Endo, who will be participating in the Asian Cup.

Arsenal will be without Mohamed Elneny, although he has seen minimal action in the Premier League this season. Meanwhile, Takehiro Tomiyasu will be away representing Japan in the Asian Cup. Everton's Idrissa Gueye will be joining forces with Chelsea's Nicolas Jackson in the Senegal squad as they aim to defend their championship.

Aston Villa, on the other hand, will not be too concerned about Burkina Faso forward Bertrand Traoré's temporary departure, as he has seen limited playing time under manager Unai Emery this season. 

Brighton & Hove Albion will miss the good form of Simon Adingra, who is part of a strong Ivory Coast delegation hosting the tournament. However, Kaoru Mitoma's departure for Japan's Asian Cup campaign, despite Brighton's medical team's assessment of his fitness, has raised eyebrows.

Crystal Palace will be frustrated by the absence of Jordan Ayew, who has been an ever-present under manager Roy Hodgson this season. Luton Town will also miss Issa Kabore as he represents Burkina Faso.

Two of Manchester United's summer signings, Sofyan Amrabat and Andre Onana, will be leaving the club temporarily. Amrabat played a crucial role in Morocco's World Cup semi-final journey, while Onana has been a match-winner for Cameroon, a team with a history of success in recent years.

Tottenham Hotspur is currently grappling with an injury crisis, and the upcoming AFCON 2023 will only compound their woes, especially with Son Heung-min away on Asian Cup duty. 

Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma, crucial players under coach Ange Postecoglou, will also be absent. However, Mali, Bissouma's home nation, is not considered a major contender in the tournament.

West Ham United will see the departure of Mohammed Kudus and Nayef Aguerd, both of whom have been key contributors this season. Fortunately for West Ham, Said Benrahma was not called up for Algeria's squad, although he is linked with a potential move away.

Bournemouth's Antoine Semenyo, a member of Ghana's Black Stars team, will be eager to help his nation clinch the African championship. Dango Outtara, also from Burkina Faso, will be another Cherry at the tournament.

Wolves' Rayan Aït-Nouri and Boubacar Traore, who has played a limited role this season, will not be sorely missed. Relegation-threatened Sheffield United will cope without Yasser Larouci and Anis Ben Slimane, as both players have had peripheral roles this season.

Brentford, however, faces a bigger challenge, as they will have to navigate without Frank Onyeka and Yoane Wissa, while their top scorer Bryan Mbeumo is sidelined with injury until February.

Fulham, in contrast, will be without three players due to AFCON duty, with two of them representing Nigeria. Calvin Bassey and Alex Iwobi, who joined the club at the start of the season, have gradually established themselves in Marco Silva's starting lineup. Fode Ballo-Toure has been called up for Senegal, although he has not been a regular starter this season.

Nottingham Forest is leading the pack in terms of quantity when it comes to AFCON participants. The newly appointed boss, Nuno Espírito Santo, will bid farewell to six key players as they embark on international duty.

Ivory Coast trio Serge Aurier, Willy Boly, Ibrahim Sangaré, Senegal duo Moussa Niakhaté, Cheikhou Kouyaté, and Nigeria's Ola Aina have all been prominent figures whenever available for selection. 

Follow Pulse Sports WhatsApp channel for more news.