These 7 Premier League Players at AFCON Should Be on Your Watch List

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Should African players leave their clubs mid-season to play at the Africa Cup of Nations? This is a question that’s sparked debate over African football and the Eurocentrism of football. Regardless of which side you take, most players in European leagues have made their stand. That they’ll always honor their duty to their country. In this post, we tell you the Premier League players are at AFCON.

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Antoine Semenyo

Highlights of Antoine Semenyo. Video Credit: Bristol City

The Ghanaian player has been involved in 16 games in the Premier League with Bournemouth. Until he left for the AFCON, he was a significant member of the team so it’s a big loss for the Cherries. His manager Andoni Iraola hopes he’ll return fit after the tournament for the rest of the season.

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Bertrand Traore

spotcovery-These 7 Premier League Players at AFCON Should Be on Your Watch List
Bertrand Traore positioning the ball for a free kick. Source: Wikimedia licensed CC-BY-SA-4.0

Aston Villa is having a good season. However, Bertrand Traore hasn’t been a prominent feature on the side. His manager Unai Emery might not be worried about the Burkina Faso player going for AFCON. 

Traore hopes to get into action for his country and perhaps use this as an opportunity to prove to his manager that he deserves a place in his team. That said, the midfielder might be crucial if the team has multiple injuries.

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Jordan Ayew

spotcovery-These 7 Premier League Players at AFCON Should Be on Your Watch List
Jordan Ayew playing for Ghana in an exhibition game. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-4.0

Jordan Ayew is playing in his sixth AFCON. His experience is vital for Ghana but is also a key player at Crystal Palace. He’s played 19 games and is a big miss for the Eagles. That said, Michael Olise is a suitable replacement and he might quash the fears that Palace initially had. 

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Mo Salah

spotcovery-These 7 Premier League Players at AFCON Should Be on Your Watch List
Egypt player Mo Salah. Source: Wikimedia licensed by  CC-BY-SA-4.0

Mo Salah is one of the Premier League players at AFCON and the only Liverpool player who traveled to the Ivory Coast. Even though the Merseyside club has their squad almost intact, Salah is one of their most important players. 

But this is familiar territory for Liverpool as previously, they coped without Sadio Mane and the Egyptian so they’re expected to cope. As for Salah, he hopes to help Egypt win another AFCON title. They began their campaign with a 2-2 draw against Mozambique. 

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Mohamed Elneny

Mohamed Elneny skills. Video Credit: ARSXF

Elneny might not be a regular player in Arsenal’s squad but he’s still an important player in the team. Like Liverpool, the Gunners have dealt with the absence of African players leaving for AFCON. 

Another thing about Elneny is his injury problems that have seen him miss out of action. His manager Mikel Arteta hopes that he’ll return to the Emirates fit for the remainder of the season.

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Nicolas Jackson

Nicolas Jackson skills. Video Credit: The World Game

Nicolas Jackson joins the list of Premier League players at AFCON. He arrived in Chelsea in June 2023 from Spanish side Villareal. He arrived after an impressive time having scored 12 goals. 

The Blues have had a bad time, losing games and switching managers with no results. So far, he’s scored seven goals in 19 games. These aren’t the biggest numbers but considering the difficulties Chelsea is facing, they’d rather be with Jackson than not.

Yaone Wissa

Yaone Wissa skills. Video Credit: SM95

Wissa’s absence at Brentford is a big blow. He’s been involved in 19 games this season and scored four goals. The fact that they’re also missing other key players makes it even harder. As for DR Congo, they hope Wissa will deliver like he’s done for Brentford, when they face Zambia, Morocco and Tanzania.

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Despite the belittlement of AFCON by some European coaches and fans, African players keep honoring their duty to their countries. It’s the right thing to do as it helps the tournament gain respect worldwide. As much as Premier League clubs are their employers, they shouldn’t complain about missing players. Instead, they should make the necessary adjustments.  

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