Five African stars missing from Afcon 2023

Burnley's Lyle Foster during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham

A galaxy of African stars will not be shining in the west African country for the Africa Cup of Nations because they have been ruled out by injury. Seen here: Bafana Bafana and Burnley forward Lyle Foster will not feature for his nation at the Africa Cup of Nations. Picture: Nigel French/BackpagePix

Published Jan 5, 2024


While there will be superstars galore on show at the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) starting next week, there will also be many who will miss the Ivory Coast-hosted event due to injury.

Among those participating will be superstars such as Victor Osimhen (Nigeria), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Mohammed Kudus (Ghana), Achraf Hakimi (Morrocco) and André Onana (Cameroon).

However, a galaxy of African stars will not be shining in the west African country because they have been ruled out by injury.

Five stars who play in the Premiership and who will miss out on Afcon because of injury are Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, Nigeria), Thomas Partey (Arsenal, Ghana), Lyle Foster (Burnley, South Africa), Cheick Doucouré (Crystal Palace, Mali) and Tariq Lamptey (Brighton & Hove Albion, Ghana).

1 Wilfred Ndidi

The Leicester City star’s absence could jeopardise Nigeria’s chances of Afcon 2023 glory in Ivory Coast because it could affect the team’s defensive stability. It will also diminish the creative flow in the midfield. With 54 caps for the Super Eagles, he has become the central midfield linchpin, and is equally dynamic in defence and attack.

His absence comes at a time when Nigerians harbour hopes of a fourth continental title. The Leicester City maestro has been pivotal to both club and country’s fortunes. The void left by Ndidi’s absence is undeniable and although not a prolific scorer, he racks up a fair number of assists.

2 Thomas Partey

Partey is a two-time Ghana Player of the Year and vice-captain of the Black Stars. He plays as a defensive midfielder or right back for Premier League club Arsenal and is a key player when his team builds attacks from the back.

When playing in the midfield he shines in the role of link man and likes to come short to receive short passes from central defence. The Ghanaian professional came through the Atletico Madrid youth system and his leadership qualities will be missed in the national team. When he joined the Gunners, many fans viewed him as the new Patrick Vieira (the legendary Senegal-born Frenchman).

3 Lyle Foster

Unlike many other Premier League stars who picked up physical injuries, the Soweto-born Lyle Foster has been battling mental health issues for the past few months. He plays for Burnley FC, who have gone to great lengths to explain why his health would suffer greatly if he played for Bafana Bafana at the Nations Cup.

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany said Foster has made great progress, but he needed to concentrate on building his mental health at the Premier League club. Foster has now played four matches after a seven-week break after issues he has been treated for at his previous club KVC Westerlo in Belgium and Burnley resurfaced. Bafana fans were hoping that Foster would be the focal point of the side’s attack at the Afcon since he is rated even higher than striker and countryman Percy Tau.

4 Cheick Doucouré

A few days ago, Crystal Palace coach Roy Hodgson confirmed that Doucoure would be out for some time with a snapped Achilles tendon. This was a shattering blow for Mali who rely heavily on their “foreign legion” to carry the national team. He has been a hit at Crystal Palace and was named the club’s Player of the Year last season.

Previously, he plied his trade in France for five seasons and brought a wealth of experience to his country’s national team. As a midfielder he blossomed in France’s top flight, appearing in 67 matches while scoring three goals and registering five assists.

5 Tariq Lamptey

The England-born Lamptey plays as a right wing-back or right back for Premier League club Brighton. He played just over 20 matches for England youth teams before opting to play for Ghana. In the past two years, he has been impressive and became a target of Tottenham and Arsenal. Brighton gaffer Roberto de Zerbi confirmed that Lamptey picked up a knee injury and will face a spell on the sidelines.

He has been an integral part of Ghana’s defensive unit. He offers pace, skill, and experience to the Ghana squad, and his presence would make a significant difference to the team’s performance.

IOL Sport