AFCON Strips EPL of African Stars


The ongoing Africa Cup of Nations has stripped the English Premier League of most of the African Stars that add colour and sparkle to the arguably best league in the world.

Half of the 24 teams participating in the AFCON have players from the English Premier League.

Here are some of the EPL stars currently doing battle for their countries in Cameroon.


Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City

The defending champions’ hope of retaining their title shave seen them take Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez and West Ham’s Said Benrahma to Cameroon.


Bertrand Traore the captain of the Stallions of Burkina Faso is greatly missed by his club Aston Villa. Since Traore left for the AFCON, they have lost 1-0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup and lost 2-1 to Brentford in the Premier League.


The Black Stars of Ghana have not won this tournament since 40 years. They feel this is their year to conquer Africa. They have Arsenal’s Thomas Partey, Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace and Leicester City’s Daniel Amartey. All of these players were in action when Ghana lost their first group match 1-0 to Morocco.


Mo Salah of Liverpool

The Pharaohs of Egypt cannot do without the Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, no wonder they call him ‘the Egyptian Messi’.  Egypt also parades Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal and Mahmoud Trezeguet of Aston Villa.



Out of favour former Arsenal captain, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will be leading the Gabonese attack as they try to go beyond the quarter finals a feat they achieved as host in 2017. Brighton’s Ulrick Eneme Ella is also in the Gabon team. Positive Covid 19 result prevented Aubameyang from playing in his side’s 0-1 victory over Comoros.


Liverpool mid-fielder, Naby Keita has long left Amfield for Cameroon where he is helping the West African side battle for the AFCON trophy. He played all 90 minutes as Guinea quenched the Flames of Malawi by a lone goal in their opening match.


Arsenal are missing the services of Nicolas Pepe who is on national assignment with the Elephants of Ivory Coast at the AFCON. Burnley and Crystal Palace are praying for the early elimination of Ivory Coast so they can have the services of Maxwell Cornet and Wilfred Zaha respectively. Wobbling Manchester United will face more difficult times without their dependable defender Eric Baily, who is in Cameroon with the Ivorian team.


The Eagles of Mali are parading Yves Bissouma of Brighton and Moussa Djenepo of Southampton.


Despite dropping Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, the Atlas Lions of Morocco are parading three players from the EPL in the ongoing AFCON. They are the Watford duo of Adam Masina and Imran Louza as well as Wolverhampton’s Romain Saiss. The trio gave good account of themselves as Morocco dimmed the Black Stars of Ghana in their opening match.


In their quest to clinch a fourth AFCON title the Super Eagles are parading five English Premier League players. They have Frank Onyeka from Brentford, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho from Leicester City, Alex Iwobi from Everton and William Troost-Ekong from Watford.


After the painful loss of last AFCON final to Algeria, the Teranga Lions have called up four English Premier League players to help them win their first AFCON title. They have Sadio Mane of Liverpool, Chelsea goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy, Nampalys Mendy of Leicester City, Cheikhou Kouyate of Crystal Palace and Ismaila Sarr of Watford. Sadio Mane converted the penalty that gave them a lone goal victory over the Warriors of Zimbabwe.


Tunisia finished fourth in the last AFCON after losing the third place match to Nigeria. To go a step further this time, they have stripped Arsenal of Omar Rekik. They also parade Hannibal Mejbri of Manchester United.

In all, Arsenal contributed five players, Leicester City and Watford contributed four players each, Liverpool and Crystal Palace contributed three players each, Aston Villa, Brighton and Manchester United contributed two players each while Brentford, Burnley, Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City, Southampton, West Ham and Wolves contributed a player each.

It is only Leeds United, Newcastle United, Norwich and Tottenham Hotspurs that did not lose any player to the AFCON

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