Discover 50 premier league players who can miss games due to AFCON
Home » Rush Sports News » Discover 50 premier league players who can miss games due to AFCON
Discover 50 premier league players who can miss games due to AFCON

By Mangek Promise


All but two Premier League sides are set to lose players during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, which starts in January.


Manchester United are set to be without their first-choice goalkeeper for several Premier League games this season after Cameroon secured their spot at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.


Andre Onana was back between the sticks for his country following a short-lived international retirement to keep Burundi at bay in this week’s crucial qualifying match, earning a clean sheet as Cameroon won 3-0 and rounded out the 24-team Afcon line-up.


Originally scheduled for earlier this summer but postponed due to adverse weather conditions, the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Ivory Coast on 13 January 2024, running through to 11 February.


Based on the nations who have qualified for the tournament, nearly 50 players from 18 Premier League sides could be set to miss as many as seven games, should they be called up for national team duty when squads are announced for the finals.


As well as a possible four league games during the month of Afcon competition, teams that progress to the Carabao Cup semi-finals and the FA Cup fourth round could also be missing their international players for those cup matches.


Premier League players who could miss Afcon



Though injury saw him left out of Ghana’s squad during this most recent international break, Thomas Partey could be among Arsenal’s absentees come January, alongside fellow defensive midfielder Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), who is also currently sidelined. The run of games for Mikel Arteta’s side during that time includes Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and West Ham.


Aston Villa

Another player on the early-season injury list is Bertrand Traore, who could be unavailable for Aston Villa when Afcon begins if he is called up by Burkina Faso.



After a substitute appearance that included an assist for the match winner over Central African Republic last week to send Ghana to Afcon 2023, forward Antoine Semenyo could be back with his countrymen for the tournament’s finals early next year. Bournemouth teammates Hamed Traore (Ivory Coast) and Dango Ouatarra (Burkina Faso) could also travel to Ivory Coast with their respective countries.



Brentford’s in-form Bryan Mbuemo netted the opener in Cameroon’s 3-0 victory on Tuesday, marking his fifth goal of the season for club and country. The Bees’ main goalscorer so far in the absence of talisman Ivan Toney, Mbuemo should be expected to return to Cameroon’s ranks at Afcon. Thomas Frank’s men could be short on firepower for a few games if Yoane Wissa (two goals and one assist so far this season) is also called up by DR Congo, while midfielder Frank Onyeka may miss out if he is selected to represent Nigeria.



The Seagulls may not lose any regular starters to Afcon, but first-team squad member Tariq Lamptey (Ghana) and summer signing Carlos Baleba (Cameroon) could be among those travelling to Ivory Coast. Brighton could also be without winger Simon Adingra (Ivory Coast), who scored in the team’s season opening 4-1 win over Luton, and squad member Samy Chouchane (Tunisia).



Burnley striker Lyle Foster, who has two goals in his last two games for the Clarets, is likely to be called up by South Africa, while winger Anass Zaroury – who hasn’t played since a week-one red card against Manchester City – could represent Morocco. Vincent Kompany’s team play the reigning Premier League champions again during Afcon, followed by an away fixture at Liverpool.



Striker Nicolas Jackson could be involved in Ivory Coast when 2022 Afcon champions Senegal aim to defend their title. Though Jackson should be the only Chelsea player at Afcon, assuming the Blues’ summer signing is included in Senegal’s squad, Mauricio Pochettino’s side will hope fellow newcomer Christian Nkunku recovers in time from his pre-season knee injury – or else recent seasons’ goalscoring worries could continue at Stamford Bridge.


Crystal Palace

Roy Hodgson’s men could be missing Jordan Ayew (Ghana) and Cheick Doucoure (Mali) during Afcon 2023, for a run of fixtures that includes trips to Arsenal and Brighton before a visit from Chelsea.



The Toffees are winless in 2023-24, and face Tottenham and Manchester City in back-to-back weeks towards the end of the Afcon window. Thankfully for Sean Dyche, only one player should be away on international duty during that time – even if it is the ever-present Idrissa Gueye (Senegal).



Nigerian duo Calvin Bassey and Alex Iwobi and Senegal’s Fode Ballo-Toure could be unavailable for Fulham against Chelsea on 13 January, a match followed by fixtures against Everton, newly-promoted Burnley, and Bournemouth.



With defender Joel Matip years into his retirement from international football, only Mohamed Salah (Egypt) is expected to be absent from Liverpool’s squad during Afcon. That absence could well be an extended one, though. Egypt made it all the way to the final of Afcon 2022 before losing to Senegal on penalties – meaning Jurgen Klopp could be without his star player, who is yet to blank for his club this season, for a mid-season double header against Chelsea and Arsenal.



Premier League newcomers Luton could be without long-serving midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu (DR Congo) and Manchester City fullback loanee Issa Kabore (Burkina Faso) when they face Brighton, Newcastle and fellow promoted sides Burnley and Sheffield United during Afcon.


Man Utd

Alongside the Red Devils’ new first-choice shot stopper Andre Onana, midfield loanee Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco), winger Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast) and Tunisia midfielder Hannibal Mejbri could all be away on national team duty at Afcon, starting when United look to take revenge on Tottenham following a 2-0 loss in the second week of the season.


Man City

No first-team squad members playing for 2023 Afcon qualifiers.


Newcastle United

No first-team squad members playing for 2023 Afcon qualifiers.


Nottingham Forest

Steve Cooper’s squad looks likely to take the most substantial hit when Afcon begins, with seven first-team players potentially heading to Ivory Coast for their respective countries. In-form frontman Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria) and countryman Ola Aina, the Senegal pair of Moussa Niakhate and Cheikhou Kouyate, and Ivory Coast trio Serge Aurier, Willy Boly and Ibrahim Sangare could all be unavailable for selection during a four-game stretch against Brentford, Arsenal, Bournemouth and Newcastle. Former Watford player Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria) may also play at Afcon, but the out-of-favour striker could be close to a move away from The City Ground following an offer from Turkish side Adana Demirspor.


Sheffield United

If selected by their countries, the Blades’ Ismaila Coulibaly (Mali) and Anis Ben Slimane (Tunisia) could miss games against West Ham, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and fellow strugglers Luton.



Spurs sit second in the league after an unbeaten start under Ange Postecoglou, but the north London side will likely be without their first-choice central midfield pairing of Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr, who could be called up by Mali and Senegal respectively.


West Ham

New signing Mohamed Kudus (Ghana) could join fellow attacker Said Benrahma (Algeria) and defenders Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast) and Nayef Aguerd (Morocco) at Afcon. During that time, the Hammers face Manchester United and Arsenal in consecutive weeks in early February.



During Afcon, a Wolves side currently struggling for form faces a tricky set of games against Brighton, Manchester United, Chelsea and Brentford. Two players could be missing from Gary O’Neil’s squad in that time: defender Rayan Ait-Nouri (Algeria) and midfielder Boubacar Traore (Mali).