For the talented few that are chosen to represent their home in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) it is the chance and honour of a lifetime. However, for the clubs they play for every season it can be a bitter sweet moment. After-all, yes it shows the calibre of talent in their team, but it also means they’re going to lose that African superstar for a substantial amount of time during the regular season. In fact, a 3-week absence can easily equate to 4 premier league matches.
But which football teams and countries are suffering the most? BWIN have put together this infographic on all the countries affected, here are some of the biggest loses:
Ligue 1 in France is definitely feeling the loss with 18 out of its 20 teams missing at least one player to AFCON. The teams that are most feeling this are Angers, Metz and Lorient who are placing in the bottom 5 spots in their league. Without key players it’s highly likely that these teams will slip further and could be in line for relegation. Especially when you consider Angers, who have lost 4 players – Karl Toko-Ekambi, Cheikh N’Doye, Famara Diedhiou and Nicolas Pepe – that have been responsible for 12 out of their 15 season goals so far.
Yet it’s not just the bottom teams that are suffering, Nice who top the league have lost 2 players with 11 assists under their belt. A loss like that can easily lead to a placement drop.
The second-most affected country goes to England where there are some crippling loses for the top teams. Most notably, Liverpool will lose their star striker Sadio Mane to Senegal. Without Mane the team will struggle to get the much-needed winning goals to stay in the top 5 of the league. Also feeling the loss are last year’s premier league winners Leicester City who are missing 3 key players including Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez, the team are currently battling to stay out of the relegation zone. This will also be the case for bottom of the league Sunderland who have lost 4 key players themselves.
Unlike England, where it is a battle to stay in the premier league, in Belgium it’s the fight for the title that will be most felt by the loss of players to AFCON. Anderlecht are probably the most handicapped by the loss of Sofiane Hanni to Algeria. Hanni has been key to Anderlecht this season with 6 goals and 6 assists. Anderlecht have a further two absentees while current league toppers Club Brugge have no missing players. This will set Anderlecht at a serious disadvantage if they want to take the league.
Similar to Belgium, the loss of players to AFCON could seriously shake-up the title race in Italy’s Serie A. Both in a race for the title, Napoli and Roma will feel the pinch after losing key players. In Roma it will be the loss of former Chelsea player Mohamed Salah that will cause problems. The Egyptian has scored 8 goals so far this season and assisted 4 goals.
Napoli, on the other hand, will be feeling the loss in defence as both Faouzi Ghoulam and Kalidou Koulibaby will be absent.