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Coronavirus restrictions prevent Europe-based players from AFCON qualifiers

CAF Champions League Trophy A number of African players plying their trade in Europe will be affected

Wed, 24 Mar 2021 Source: ghanasoccernet.com

The final two rounds of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will see most of the African countries playing without players who ply their trade in Europe due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The world’s football governing body (FIFA) earlier ruled that clubs do not release their players for international duty if they face quarantine on their return.

This has had an impact on almost all of the 48 countries involved in the qualifiers as the race for places at next year’s tournament heads to a conclusion.

A chunk of African countries mostly depends on players based in Europe but the Covid-19 restrictions have disrupted their plans.

Countries such as Guinea, Mali, Senegal and Togo have been heavily hit with the restrictions due to their player’s participation in the French Ligues.

The French professional league initially voted to block players from traveling for international duty because of quarantine rules.

Teams with players based in the United Kingdom have had to make compromises to avoid sending them to countries on the British government's "red list" which would mean a 10-day quarantine on return.

Algeria agreed to leave Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and Said Benrahma of West Ham United out of the team to travel to Zambia this week and use them only for their last qualifier at home to Botswana on Sunday.

Ghana have agreed to Arsenal’s request that Thomas Partey should not travel to South Africa for Thursday’s Group C meeting but play only at home against Sao Tome & Principe in their final qualifier on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will lead Gabon at home against the Democratic Republic of Congo in a key Group D game on Thursday but not travel to Angola for their last game three days thereafter.

Qualifiers run from Wednesday to next Tuesday with 19 places still to be decided.

Source: ghanasoccernet.com
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