The Africa Cup of Nations returns this campaign and the tournament is set to have an impact on the Premier League season.
As usual, the prestigious competition will be taking place over the winter, beginning on January 13 and ending on February 11, 2024.
This means that key players such as Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah are set to miss crucial fixtures for their clubs over that period.
talkSPORT.com takes a look at exactly how the Premier League and its players will be affected by the competition.
How will the Africa Cup of Nations affect the Premier League?
As mentioned, AFCON will begin on January 13 with the final set to take place on February 11, 2024.
This is placed right in the middle of a busy Premier League season and just after a typically hectic Christmas period.
However, top-flight football will stop for a mid-season winter break just as the tournament in Ivory Coast gets underway.
The Premier League will pause after the festive fixtures from January 14 to January 30.
Clubs will play their final top-flight games on Saturday, January 13 before enjoying two weekends off from league action.
All players featuring at the tournament will definitely miss the final game before the break as they will have already travelled to train with their countries.
Premier League players set for AFCON
- Thomas Partey – Ghana
- Mohamed Elneny – Egypt
- Bertrand Traore – Burkina Faso
- Hamed Traore – Ivory Coast
- Dango Ouatarra – Burkina Faso
- Antoine Semenyo – Ghana
- Frank Onyeka – Nigeria
- Bryan Mbuemo – Cameroon
- Yoane Wissa – DR Congo
- Tariq Lamptey – Ghana
- Carlos Baleba – Cameroon
- Simon Adingra – Ivory Coast
- Samy Chouchane – Tunisia
- Anass Zaroury – Morocco
- Lyle Foster – South Africa
- Nicolas Jackson – Senegal
- Jordan Ayew – Ghana
- Cheick Doucoure – Mali
- Calvin Bassey – Nigeria
- Alex Iwobi – Nigeria
- Fode Ballo-Toure – Senegal
- Issa Kabore – Burkina Faso
- Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu – DR Congo
- Andre Onana – Cameroon
- Sofyan Amrabat – Morocco
- Hannibal Mejbri – Tunisia
- Amad Diallo – Ivory Coast
- Serge Aurier – Ivory Coast
- Willy Boly – Ivory Coast
- Ibrahim Sangare – Ivory Coast
- Moussa Niakhate – Senegal
- Cheikhou Kouyate – Senegal
- Taiwo Awoniyi – Nigeria
- Ola Aina – Nigeria
- Ismaila Coulibaly – Mali
- Anis Ben Slimane – Tunisia
- Pape Matar Sarr – Senegal
- Yves Bissouma – Mali
- Mohamed Kudus – Ghana
- Maxwel Cornet – Ivory Coast
- Nayef Aguerd – Morocco
- Said Benrahma – Algeria
- Rayan Ait-Nouri – Algeria
- Boubacar Traore – Mali
From then on, the further a player goes in the tournament, the more top-flight games they will be absent for once the season resumes.
If a player is knocked out early, they could well be back in action for their club’s next league game on January 30 or 31.
However, if a player reaches the final, they could miss a total of four or even five fixtures for their clubs.
For Salah and Egypt, this is a real possibility and the winger is likely to be absent for huge games against Chelsea and Arsenal.
So AFCON could play a big part in some clubs’ success this season if they lose their key players for a significant amount of time.
Teams will be hoping their stars go far in the tournament, of course, but there will be benefits if they return early enough to avoid missing multiple games.
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