European leagues will face some disruption next season, in terms of player availability after hosts Cameroon announced the Africa Cup of Nations will be moved from the summer to January 2021.
The tournament was due to be held in June and July but, due to weather conditions in the country at that time of year, the Cameroon Football Federation has decided to stage it between January 9 and February 6.
“It (2021 Africa Cup of Nations) will be played in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2021. Date changed for weather reasons at Cameroon’s request,” the federation posted on Twitter after a meeting with representatives from the Confederation of African Football.
The move will have major implications especially for English Premier League clubs with Liverpool likely to be particularly badly affected with Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Naby Keita (Guinea) all potentially unavailable to play for the club during that period.
While Leicester City will lose the services of Nigeria’s Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, Everton will also feel the absence of midfielder Alex Nwobi.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) and Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast) are also likely to feature in addition to Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez as well as a number of other Premier League club first-team players.
Since 1960, the tournament was always held during winter or early spring, mainly due to climate reasons and to avoid conflict with other international tournaments or club competitions, but it was changed last year when Egypt hosted the first summer tournament.
The Premier League’s African contingent courtesy of Sky Sports
Arsenal Aubameyang (Gabon), Pepe (Ivory Coast), Elneny (Egypt – out on loan at Besiktas)
Aston Villa Nakamba (Zimbabwe), Trezeguet (Egypt), Kodjia (Ivory Coast), Elmohamady (Egypt)
Brighton Balogun (Nigeria), Bissouma (Mali), Bong (Cameroon), Tau (South Africa – out on
loan at Club Brugge)
Crystal Palace Schlupp (Ghana), Kouyate (Senegal), Ayew (Ghana), Zaha (Ivory Coast)
Everton Iwobi (Nigeria), Gbamin (Ivory Coast), Niasse (Senegal), Bolasie (DR Congo – out
on loan at Sporting Lisbon)
Leicester Iheanacho (Nigeria), Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria), Amartey (Ghana), Slimani (Algeria –
out on loan at Monaco), Ghezzal (Algeria – out on loan at Fiorentina)
Liverpool Keita (Guinea), Salah (Egypt), Mane (Senegal)
Man City Mahrez (Algeria)
Man United Bailly (Ivory Coast)
Newcastle Atsu (Ghana), Saivet (Senegal)
Southampton Djenepo (Mali), Boufal (Morocco), Lemina (Gabon – out on loan at Galatasaray)
Tottenham Wanyama (Kenya), Aurier (Ivory Coast)
Watford Success (Nigeria)
West Ham Masuaku (DR Congo)
Wolves Saiss (Morocco)