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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021 Player Injuries: Confirmed absentees and doubts to miss the finals

19:12 GMT 11/12/2021
Victor Osimhen of Nigeria and Napoli.
GOAL looks at the stars who will definitely miss the continental showpiece and those who have a slim chance of making it to Cameroon

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching and while the excitement is gradually getting into full gear, fans and national team coaches are starting to know the physical conditions of their key players.

Ahead of the showpiece in Cameroon, GOAL keeps tabs on the players who will miss out on Afcon 2021 as well as those who are considered doubts.

Confirmed out of Afcon 2021

Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo sustained a torn quadricep muscle injury in Watford’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle United in September and he has gone under the knife for treatment which rules him out of action for four to five months. He partners Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi in the heart of the Super Eagles' midfield.

Senegal forward Krepin Diatta who was hoping to make his second appearance on the Afcon stage next year, had his hopes dashed after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in Ligue 1. After scoring his first goal of the season for Monaco in their 2-2 draw against Lille on November 19, the 22-year-old suffered the setback in that game and he has undergone surgery which keeps him out of action until next year.

Morocco and Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri is suffering from a thigh muscle strain that has kept him out of action since November 3. According to reports, he is not expected to return to action this year which rules him out of Vahid Halilhodzic's squad for their trip to Cameroon in January.

He scored two goals for Morocco at the 2019 edition in Egypt.

Ivory Coast’s Gervinho picked up a season-ending injury in the Turkish Super Lig back in October and he is still recovering. The 34-year-old who played a part in the Elephants’ World Cup qualifying campaign this year, could have played in his last Afcon in 2015.

Major doubts for Afcon 2021

Nigeria talisman Victor Osimhen is fighting his way back to full recovery but it remains to be seen if he will be match-fit for the Afcon in January. The 22-year-old fractured his cheekbone during a Serie A match between Napoli and Inter Milan.

After undergoing surgery earlier this month, Osimhen unexpectedly started individual training at his club on December 8.

Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly’s chances of making it to Cameroon are up in the air after he picked up an injury around his left thigh on December 1. Napoli confirmed that the centre-back will be out of action for at least a month with the Afcon expected to start on January 9.

Ismaila Sarr suffered a knee ligament blow during Watford's Premier League victory over Manchester United in November and he is another key name that could be left out of Aliou Cisse's squad.

Sarr is expected to have another scan by the end of December which rules him out of action for the busy festive period.

Bertrand Traore is yet to recover fully from a thigh muscle strain and his last appearance dates back to October 3 in Aston Villa's 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur. The 26-year-old remains a key player for Burkina Faso and it is uncertain if he will be fit before their adventure at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Potential doubts for Afcon 2021

Cameroon midfielder Frank-Andre Zambo Anguissa suffered an abductor problem in Napoli's defeat to Inter Milan on November 23. He was ruled out for two or three weeks but he is yet to return to full action in Serie A. The situation would have kept him under the watchful eyes of Indomitable Lions coach Antonio Conceicao.

Nigeria are apparently sweating over the fitness of their first-choice goalkeeper Maduka Okoye who suffered a knock during a Dutch Eredivisie match on November 28. There is no timeline for his return and fingers remain crossed ahead of the release of Gernot Rohr’s initial squad list.

Egypt winger Mahmoud Trezeguet is gradually fighting his way back to full fitness following a knee injury he picked up on April 21. The Aston Villa star is yet to make an appearance for Steven Gerrard’s side this season but he played 60 minutes for the U23 team on December 6.

All information is accurate at the time of publishing.