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5 Football Clubs Missing Their African Talent During AFCON

While the continent spends a month celebrating football during the 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, there are plenty of clubs in Europe that'll want the tournament over and done with so they can get their major stars back.

Which are the teams most affected by missing their African stars? 

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Liverpool

Not only are they missing the "Egyptian King" Mohamed Salah (who was making a good argument that he's the best player in the world), they're also missing another key attacker with Sadio Mane playing for Senegal, as well as a key midfielder with Naby Keita leading Guinea.

With the gap growing between Manchester City in first place in the Premier League and Liverpool in second, the Reds really can't afford to drop any points in this period or they risk the title effectively being decided with four months of the season remaining.

Chelsea

Chelsea may only be missing their Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, but it's a crucial loss at a time that could be critical for the team as well as the individual.

For the team, it's not an ideal time to lose their first-choice last line of defence as it coincides with a period of them struggling to put clean sheets together.

If their defence can improve with replacement goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (the man with the tag of being the most expensive goalkeeper in the world), then maybe it'll threaten Mendy's position when he returns.

With Manchester City only losing Riyad Mahrez to the tournament, all eyes will be on how both Liverpool and Chelsea fare during AFCON to give the defending champions any sort of Premier League title challenge.

Sevilla

Sevilla could be in a position to challenge for their first La Liga title in 76 years and will need to really depend on their squad cover with their key Moroccan trio missing, namely Bono in goal, plus the pair of Munir El Haddadi and Youssef En-Nesyri up front.

They were able to pick up a win and a clean sheet without them against Getafe to keep league leaders Real Madrid on their toes. If they keep it up with a repeat performance at home to Celta Vigo, it can only bolster their confidence in the overall title challenge if they can ride the wave of missing AFCON players.

Napoli

Napoli have slumped somewhat after an incredible start to the season and face a key period in their campaign without their African players that make up the spine of their team.

After a period without Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen (who got injured after a great start to the season), now they must do without Senegalese defensive lynchpin Kalidou Koulibaly as well as Cameroonian Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who settled operations in midfield.

AC Milan

After a humiliating loss at home against Spezia in a game where they were so obviously missing the presence of Ivorian Franck Kessie, it’s now become a critical point of the Rossoneri’s season without him.

The upcoming fixtures aren’t kind to the Italian giants either. For one thing, they can look forward to a derby against league leaders and defending champions Inter Milan that’s on the same weekend as the AFCON final.

Could the Serie A title race hinge on how far Cote d’Ivoire go in the tournament? Stream all the AFCON 2021 games, live on Showmax Pro, courtesy of SuperSport.

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Subscribers can live stream the 2021 seasons of the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, UEFA Europa and UEFA Conference leagues, the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and more.

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