By Guy P.
Whilst the African Nations Cup is a festival of football enjoyed by fans around the world, the enjoyment is not always shared by football club managers and fans, who are loathe to see some of their best players departing at such a busy time of the season. This is the second year in a row that there has been an ANC, as the tournament is moved to odd years, so as not to clash with World Cup and European Cup years. However, this will be of little solace to Premier League clubs, who are losing a plethora of top players to ANC 2013.
Some Premier League clubs have, however, been fortunate this time around as a number of African footballing power houses have not qualified for ANC 2013. These include Senegal, which is good news for Newcastle, who could ill-afford to lose Papiss Cisse for up to a month straight after compatriot Demba Ba’s transfer to Chelsea. Everton will also consider themselves fortunate that Steven Pienaar has retired from the South African national team and relegation threatened QPR’s mercurial star, Adel Taarabt, has been ignored by Morocco.
Here are 5 Premier League ANC bound stars who will be sorely missed:
Youssouf Mulumbu – (West Bromwich Albion & Congo DR) – The Baggies midfielder has forged a very effective central midfield partnership with Claudio Yacob this season and with the club’s declining form the ANC has come at a very bad time. Manager Steve Clarke will be hoping that Congo DR get knocked out at the group stage and that Mulumbu returns uninjured.
Victor Moses – (Chelsea & Nigeria) – The skilful winger has been a welcome addition to the Chelsea squad since his arrival from Wigan. Though Chelsea should be able to cope with his absence due to the fact they have a number of players in the Nigerian’s position, injuries or suspensions for the Blues during the period of the ANC could prove calamitous for under-pressure Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez.
John Obi Mikel – (Chelsea & Nigeria) – In past seasons Chelsea fans would no doubt have welcomed the under-performing midfielder heading off for international duty. However, this season, the Nigerian has been an inspirational figure at the heart of the Chelsea team and the club will want him back fit and healthy as quickly as possible.
Yaya Toure – (Manchester City & Ivory Coast) – Whilst not many Manchesetr City fans will be shedding tears over the departure to ANC 2013 of brother Kolo, there will be serious concerns over the potentially extended absence of talisman Yaya, especially with the club trailing rivals Man Utd by so many points in the League. The Ivory Coast midfielder is one of the best players in the Premier League and whilst Manchester City do have a decent replacement in Javi Garcia, it is unlikely that he will be able to fill the void.
Chieck Tiote – (Newcastle & Ivory Coast) – The combative midfield enforcer is a fan favourite at Newcastle, due to his non-compromising style and relentless work rate. With the club’s alarming dip in form, both manager Pardew and the fans will be desperate to get Tiote back in the fold as quickly as possible, but this is unlikely to be this month as the Ivory Coast are the favourites for the ANC 2013 title.
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