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Southampton attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal is expected to be injured for three weeks, ruling him out of AFCON duty for Morocco.

Morocco will be without Sofiane Boufal at the Africa Cup of Nations after the Southampton midfielder pulled out of the squad with a knee injury.

Boufal joined Saints from Lille for a club record fee reported to be £16 million in August and has made 15 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice.

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The 23-year-old, who underwent knee surgery last May, was included in Herve Renard's 23-man squad for the competition in Gabon that begins on January 14, but has been forced to withdraw.

"Sofiane Boufal has a knee injury and he cannot go to the Africa Cup of Nations," said Southampton manager Claude Puel.

"He will stay with us to recover. I hope he can come back in three weeks.

"It's not a serious injury, it's an inflammation of his knee, but he cannot play and he cannot play for his country.

"It's just an inflammation. It's not a bad injury, but it's important to be careful about this injury.

"It's a good thing he can stay quiet, because I think he is an important player who can make the difference with his quality."

Morocco begin their Group C campaign against DR Congo in Oyem on Monday, January 16.

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