Afcon: Top five talking points from the final Nations Cup squads

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The 24 contenders have unveiled their final Africa Cup of Nations squads…with some pressing talking points

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    Kelechi Iheanacho has been one of the most high-profile victims of the pre-Afcon cull, losing his place in the Nigeria squad after clearly losing the faith of manager Gernot Rohr.

    He didn’t even get off the bench as the Super Eagles were held by Zimbabwe in Sunday’s goalless stalemate in Asaba, and has promptly been dismissed from the squad.

    This completes a stunning fall from grace for the one-time wonderkid, who scored just once in 30 Premier League outings for Leicester City this term.

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    South Africa

    There were already concerns about South Africa’s attacking options ahead of the tournament, but their offensive qualities were dented even further last week, with the news that Keagan Dolly wouldn’t make the tournament.

    The winger, who was named in Stuart Baxter’s provisional squad, has been ruled out after suffering a groin injury.

    Even though Dolly could feasibly have returned in time to feature in the latter stages, he wasn’t named in the Bafana squad named on Sunday.

    Rivaldo Coetzee has also missed out, along with Fortune Makaringe, Ben Motshwari and Kermit Erasmus.

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    Waris Majeed was the most high-profile casualty from the Ghana squad that was confirmed by the GFA on Monday.

    The FC Porto striker spent last season on loan at FC Nantes, and scored five in the process, but has found himself as the odd man out in Kwesi Appiah’s attacking plans.

    The Black Stars coach has opted to take Asamoah Gyan, Jordan, Ayew, Kwabena Owusu and in-form Caleb Ekuban to Egypt, meaning no place for the 2014 World Cup veteran.

    Ebenezer Ofori is another high-profile player to have been cut.

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    What a weekend it was for Wolfsburg’s Paul-Georges Ntep.

    The former France international eventually committed himself to playing for Cameroon at senior level after being courted by Fecafoot, although he’s been slow to make his mark with the Indomitable Lions.

    That all changed on Sunday, however, as the former Saint-Etienne man marked his second start—and his third appearance—for the Central Africans with the opener in their 2-1 victory over Zambia.

    However the attacker’s joy quickly turned to disappointment, as it was announced on Monday that he’d been cut from the Cameroon squad by Clarence Seedorf.

    Jerome Onguene, Fabrice Olinga, Petrus Boumal and Jean-Pierre Nsame—all of whom started against Chipolopolo—have also been axed.

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    The Harambee Stars’ return to the Nations Cup for the first time since 2004 risks being undermined by a series of defensive concerns for Sebastien Migne’s side.

    He announced his provisional squad without influential defender Brian Mandela, with the centre-back having picked up a knee injury in training on Monday.

    It’s a big loss, with the stopper only recently returning from suspension.

    Kenya have options to replace him; David Owino, Joash Onyango, Ismael Gonzalez and impressive new boy Joseph Okumu could all step in, although with Musa Mohammed also picking up a muscle injury, it threatens to be a patched-up Stars team that take to the field against Algeria in their opener.