The African Cup of Nations

When does the tournament start and end?

The African Cup of Nations will be taking place in Angola from January 10-31. The tournament dates are split accordingly:

First Round Group Matches – Jan 10-21
Quarter Finals – Jan 24-25
Semi-Finals – Jan 28
Third/Fourth place play off – Jan 30
Final – Jan 31

What games will my players miss?

Most players will join up with their national sides before the tournament for preparation and friendlies, this means that players will miss the minimum of three Premier League fixtures, even if they are knocked out in the group stages. Beyond this, it’s possible that any player reaching the Final or Third Place Play-off, could miss up to six matches, depending whether they are rested by their clubs the week after the tournament.

The full list of Gameweeks that are/could be affected are as follows:

Gameweek 20 – Dec 28-Jan 6 – Preparation friendly matches
Gameweek 21 – Jan 9-11 – First Round matches
Gameweek 22 – Jan 16-17 – First Round matches
Gameweek 23 – Jan 26-27 – Quarter Finals and Semi Finals
Gameweek 24 – Jan 30-Feb 1 – Final and Third Place Play off
Gameweek 25 – Feb 6-7 – Possible Recovery Period

All players will return for Gameweek 25 but it’s worth considering that Gameweek 26 follows very soon after with midweek fixtures on February 9-10. This means that players taking part in the latter stages of the tournament could well be rested for Gameweek 25 on their return.

What players are taking part?

The current list of players below includes those who could that take part in the tournament is below. This table will be updated with the latest news on departures and returns over the next month. Any injuries sustained in the tournament will be reported here and in the Injuries and Bans table.

NameClubNationReturn DateLatest NewsUpdated
EboueARSIvory Coast06/02/10Eboue’s absence will cement Sagna’s place at right-back and ease the rotation threat to the likes of Walcott and Nasri in the wide midfield roles.20/12/09
SongARSCameroon06/02/10Wenger revealed on 27/12 that Song will stay with Arsenal until after their FA Cup tie with West Ham which will mean that he will play the first game of Arsenal’s double fixture in gameweek 20. Song’s eventual absence will likely see Diaby drop back to a defensive midfield role, although this is yet to be confirmed by Wenger.27/12/09
ShittuBOLNigeria06/02/10Shittu is not a first team player at the Reebok so there is no concern for Fantasy Managers.20/12/09
BikeyBURCameroon06/02/10Has confirmed that he will miss the pre-tournament training camp, enabling him to stay with Burnley until early January. He is now set to be available for Burnley’s home fixture with Stoke on January 9th [source]. Once he has departed, Burnley could have problems at the back with Caldwell and Carlisle both currently nursing groin injuries. Duff, Edgar and Jordan could all fill in for that pair once Bikey has left for Angola. McDonald is set to maintain his run of starts in midfield in Bikey’s absence, which could lead to a recall for Robbie Blake.23/12/09
DrogbaCHEIvory Coast06/02/10In Drogba’s absence, Ancelotti has revealed that he plans to change Chelsea’s formation without Drogba – Joe Cole and Deco are set to support Anelka, in what sounds like a Christmas tree formation.26/12/09
EssienCHEGhana06/02/10Essien’s absence, together with Mikel, will likely see Belletti given the opportunity to take up the holding midfield role. Alternatively Ancelotti could go with Ballack, Lampard, Malouda and Joe Cole/Deco in his midfield diamond.20/12/09
KalouCHEIvory Coast06/02/10Ancelotti has revealed that he plans to change Chelsea’s formation without Drogba and Kalou – Joe Cole and Deco are set to support Anelka, in what sounds like a Christmas tree formation although much depends on Anelka’s fitness. He has missed gameweeks 18 and 19 through injury.26/12/09
MikelCHENigeria06/02/10Mikel’s absence, together with Essien, will likely see Belletti given the opportunity to take up the holding midfield role. Alternatively Ancelotti could go with Ballack, Lampard, Malouda and Joe Cole/Deco in his midfield diamond. Mikel should be available for the fixture with Fulham on Monday December 28th, with Nigeria due to meet up the next day.20/12/09
YakubuEVENigeria06/02/10Moyes will hope that Saha and Jo remain fit to cover the loss of Yakubu. New loan signing Landon Donovan will also arrive in January and could help share the load up front. Yakubu should be available for the game with Burnley in gameweek 20, with Nigeria due to meet up the next day on December 29th.23/12/09
YoboEVENigeria06/02/10Yobo is currently suffering from a hamstring injury and doesn’t look likely to recover in time to take part in the tournament.20/12/09
EtuhuFULNigeria06/02/10Currently negotiating with Fulham who are attempting to persuade the player to skip the tournament having returned from injury. However, Etuhu has made it clear that he intends to take his place in the squad. Etuhu’s absence will cement the role of Chris Baird as Fulham’s holding midfielder.23/12/09
CousinHULGabon06/02/10Cousin has been out of favour at the KC Stadium so his absence won’t be a major loss for Phil Brown with Fagan, Altidore and Venegoor of Hesselkink available to lead the attack.20/12/09
GhilasHULAlgeria06/02/10Ghilas has enjoyed limited first team opportunities since making a big impact on his arrival. His absence won’t be a major problem for Phil Brown or us Fantasy Managers.20/12/09
OlofinjanaHULNigeria06/02/10Olofinjana’s absence will reduce Phil Brown’s options in midfield with Boateng looking certain of starts, while Kilbane could also be given opportunities in his absence. He will miss the fixture with Bolton in gameweek 20 with Nigeria due to meet up on that day.23/12/09
EtuhuMCYNigeria06/02/10Etuhu is not a first team player at Eastlands so there is no concern for Fantasy Managers.20/12/09
ToureMCYIvory Coast06/02/10Toure’s absence and the injuries to Onuoha and Lescott give Mancini major problems at the back. Kompany looks certain to fill in and Richards could be shifted to a central defensive role, although he too picked up a knock against Sunderland in gameweek 18.27/12/09
BelhadjPORAlgeria06/02/10Belhadj earned a recall to the side for the home game with Liverpool but he is now due to join up with Algeria and deprive Avram Grant of his services. Smith and Webber are set to be promoted up the pecking order as a result.20/12/09
DindanePORIvory Coast06/02/10Dindane’s absence guarantees starts for Piquionne up front, with Smith and Webber also promoted up the pecking order. It’s unclear whether Dindane was still on penalties after his recent miss against Burnley but in the absence of Prince Boateng, these duties could now be passed to O’Hara or Piquionne.20/12/09
KanuPORNigeria06/02/10Kanu is far from a regular starter for Portsmouth but his absence looks set to guarantee starts for Piquionne up front, with Smith and Webber also promoted up the pecking order. He will miss gameweek 20’s fixture with Arsenal with Nigeria due to meet up on December 29th.20/12/09
YebdaPORAlgeria06/02/10Another big loss for Pompey. His defensive midfield duties are set to be covered by Hughes or Mullins.20/12/09
KingsonWIGGhana06/02/10Ghana have allowed Kingson to remain with Wigan for the fixtures in gameweek 20, although Kingson is not a regular starter for Wigan so this is not a concern for Fantasy Managers.23/12/09