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African All Stars

World Cup: Essien, Obi Mikel and African stars who missed out due to injuries

3:03 AM MYT 10/11/2022
John Obi Mikel, Kevin Balanta
GOAL looks at players who were denied chances to feature in the global bonanza due to injuries

As the 2022 World Cup approaches, GOAL takes a look at African players who have missed the global competition due to injuries previously.

Ghana, Cameroon, and Nigeria in particular have had to feature in previous editions without key players.

There are fears in the Senegal camp that Sadio Mane could miss the November-December tournament after sustaining an injury when playing for Bayern Munich on Tuesday against Werder Bremen.

So, who are the players to have missed World Cups due to injuries?

  • Michael Essien of Ghana, Czech Republic's David Rozehnal

    Michael Essien

    Although he was involved in Ghana’s World Cup qualifiers, where he amassed more than 800 minutes, the midfielder could not take part in the 2010 finals in South Africa.

    In May 2010, it was confirmed that the then Chelsea star will not be part of the Black Stars squad due to a knee injury.

    Ghana went on to the quarterfinals when they were eliminated dramatically by Uruguay on post-match penalties.

  • John Obi Mikel Nigeria.

    John Obi Mikel

    The Super Eagle was not part of the 2010 finals due to a knee injury that saw him undergo surgery in May of the same year.

    With his absence, Nigeria – who finished last in their group - struggled and could not post a win in their pool that also had Argentina, South Korea, and Greece.

  • Tarik Tissoudali of Morocco

    Tarik Tissoudali

    The Moroccan will miss the Qatar finals after he suffered a cruciate ligament injury. 

    The Gent striker is set to be out for at least six months after suffering a serious setback when he was playing for KAA Gent against Sint-Truiden in Belgium’s top division in August this year.

  • Bouna Sarr of Senegal.

    Bouna Sarr

    Senegal coach Aliou Cisse will have to draft his Qatar-bound squad without the Bayern Munich star.

    The full-back went through a knee operation, and that will keep him out until 2023.

    Given his prominent role played during the successful Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Cameroon, his absence is set to be felt in the team.

  • Marc-Vivien Foe of Cameroon portrait

    Marc-Vivien Foe

    The Africa Cup of Nations winner missed the 1998 World Cup finals held in France.

    This is despite his strong individual performance in the previous edition, when he started in all the group games.

    He was, however, in the 2002 squad, but he could not inspire the Indomitable Lions further into the tournament as they were eliminated in the group stage again.

  • Jerry Akaminko of Ghana

    Jerry Akaminko

    The Ghanaian defender was ruled out of the 2010 finals after he suffered an ankle injury during their friendly against the Netherlands.

    He underwent surgery after he injured the fracture of the fibula and had to be on the sidelines for three months.

  • Elderson Echiejile

    Elderson Echiejile

    The former Monaco star limped out before half-time during Nigeria’s friendly match against Greece in Philadelphia, shortly before the 2014 World Cup.

    He was later diagnosed with a muscular tear, which kept him out for several weeks.

    Head coach Stephen Keshi made a replacement in the squad as he called up Ejike Uzoenyi of Enugu Rangers.

  • Emmanuel Amuneke

    Emmanuel Amuneke

    A knee problem kept the prolific Super Eagle out of the 1998 World Cup edition.

    The 1994 African Player of the Year scored against Bulgaria and Italy in the 1994 finals and helped deliver the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

    Despite the achievement, he was not part of the star-studded squad that featured in the France finals.