The biggest trophy in Africa is up for grabs. The 16-nation football showpiece will take place in Equatorial Guinea from January 17th to February 8th. Ghana, Algeria, South Africa and Senegal are in the same group, a group expected to have lots of fireworks. However, during Africa’s finest competition, many teams in the Premier League will be in a limbo because of losing key players. Let’s take a look at 5 players whose absence will strongly be felt by their respective teams.
- Wilfred Bony
The 26-year old Ivory Coast international will be representing the Elephants in the African Cup of Nations. The former Sparta Prague striker has been phenomenal playing a critical role in Swansea’s resurgence. The #10 has been in good goal scoring form and has scored 9 goals already this season. His goal scoring prowess has seen him score 20 league goals in 2014, 2 more than the prolific Sergio Aguero. The Swans will surely miss Wilfred’s sharpness in front of goal during the entire period he will be away on international duty.
- Yaya Toure
The 31-year old former Barcelona midfielder and Manchester City #42 has been in brilliant form scoring 7 goals for the Citizens. Yaya Toure, who won the African Player of the Year accolade in 2013, played a key role in Manuel Pellegrini’s title surge. His work rate and control in the mid ensured the Manchester outfit won crucial games that saw them crowned Premier League Champions at the end of last season. Even though Frank Lampard’s stay has been extended till the end of the season, the Etihad faithful will surely miss the Ivory Coast international.
- Papiss Demba Cisse
If you don’t know Cisse, ask any Chelsea fan. Well, the 29-year old Senegal and Newcastle striker struck twice to hand Chelsea their first league defeat in December. Although Cisse has been beleaguered by injuries for the major part of 2014, his role for the Magpies can never be underestimated. The former SC Freiburg striker has scored 9 league goals this season in 13 matches. He has scored five of those goals coming off the bench. With Alan Pardew heading to Crystal Palace, whoever takes charge over the Toon Army will be short of options upfront in the absence of such a prolific striker.
- Diafra Sakho
Diafra Sakho has been the face of Sam Allardyce’s revolution at West Ham. The 25-year old Senegalese striker has scored 8 goals for the Hammers this season. The West Ham #15 links up well with Ecuador international Enner Valencia to fire the Hammers to fifth place in the Premier League table by the end of last year. His brilliant goal scoring form and match-winning performances were rewarded by being named the division’s Player of the Month in October 2014. The return of Andy Carroll from injury has given Big Sam more options upfront but Sakho’s absence will be a big blow for the Hammers.
- Mame Biram Diouf
The former Manchester United striker and Senegal international has scored 6 league goals for the Potters which has helped them pick up from a slow start to the season. The 27-year old struck once against Manchester City to enable Mark Hughes’ side hand the Citizens first league defeat of the campaign at Etihad Stadium. Mame Diouf’s work rate has been impressive. His tireless attitude and fighting spirit have made him a darling to most Britannia Stadium faithful. Mark Hughes has expressed his disappointment at failing to have Senegal national team allow Diouf to be available for their next match against Arsenal.
Will these teams struggle for their lives or will it be business as usual? Let us know in the comment section below.