21 English Premier League players set for AFCON
The English Premier League is set to lose key players at the pivotal stage of the season as twenty one Africans are expected to play at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The 21 players are expected to be named in their countries squad for the tournament to be held in South Africa from January thanks to their performances.
According to FIFA laws, clubs must release their players two weeks before the start of the African Cup of Nations which clashes with the English football calendar.
The potential for disruption in England is higher not only in the English top-flight, but also in the Championship and even down to League Two.
Premier League Title contenders like Manchester City, Arsenal, Newcastle and Aston Villa will lose players while strugglers West Brom, Wigan and QPR could all lose key players.
Man City hopes of retaining the title will be severely hit as they have cope without the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya while Arsenal could be without four players including Ivorian Gervinho, who has scored five goals so far this season.
The absence of the Ivorian and the three other Africans will come at the time of matches against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Aston Villa will miss Karim El Ahmadi, Fulham Mahamadou Diarra, Tottenham Emmanuel Adebayor and QPR Samba Diakite and Adel Taarabt.
The toll will certainly be lighter on Newcastle and Chelsea for various reasons.
The failure of Senegal to qualify for the tournament means Demba BA and Papiss Demba Cisee will be available for them as they will only miss Cheick Tiote.
The departure of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou as well as the loan move of Michael Essien means Chelsea will only miss John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses during the tournament.
The biennial tournament is a nightmare for a number of Premier League clubs who will be once again stripped of important players.
AFRICAN PLAYERS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SET FOR AFCON
Arsenal Emmanuel Frimpong, Daniel Jesse Boateng (Ghana), Gervinho (Ivory Coast), Marouane Chamakh (Morocco)
Aston Villa Karim El Ahmadi (Morocco)
Chelsea John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses (Nigeria), Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)
Fulham Mahamadou Diarra (Mali)
Liverpool Oussama Assaidi (Morocco)
Manchester City Kolo Toure, Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)
Newcastle United Cheick Tiote (Ivory Coast)
Queens Park Rangers Samba Diakite (Mali), Adel Taarabt (Morocco)
Tottenham Hotspur Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)
West Bromwich Albion Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria)
West Ham United Modibo Maiga (Mali), Guy Demel (Ivory Coast)
Wigan Athletic Arouna Kone (Ivory Coast)
Birmingham City Akwasi Asante (Ghana)
Blackburn Rovers Dickson Etuhu (Nigeria)
Bristol City Albert Adomah (Ghana)
Charlton Athletic Abdul Razak (Ivory Coast)
Crystal Palace Kagisho Dikgacoi (South Africa)
Hull City Sone Aluko (Nigeria)
Leicester City Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)
Nottingham Forest Adlene Guedioura (Algeria)
Peterborough United Gabriel Zakuani (DR Congo)
Watford Britt Assombalonga (DR Congo)
Wolverhampton Wanderers Tongo Doumbia (Mali), Razak Boukari (Togo)
Doncaster Rovers Herita Ilunga (DR Congo)
Oldham Athletic Dean Furman (South Africa)
Burton Albion Jacques Maghoma (DR Congo)