Africa Cup of Nations: Injury watch

Which of the potential stars of the Afcon are facing a fitness race to make it to the finals, and who's been ruled out of the tournament?

  1. Backpagepix

    Keagan Dolly

    Bafana winger Keagan Dolly has been ruled out of the upcoming tournament with a groin injury, despite having been named in South Africa's provisional Nations Cup squad.

    According to Bafana's medical team, Dolly has no chance of recovering in time for the continental tournament, which will be staged in Egypt later this month.  

    “He is completely out of the Afcon," team doctor Thulani Ngwenya told journalists in a statement. "There is no chance that his groin injury will recover in time."

  2. St. Gallen

    Musah Nuhu

    Switzerland-based defender Musah Nuhu will be leaving Ghana's camp and going back to his club St. Gallen after picking up an injury.

    The setback occurred during the Black Stars training exercise in the United Arab Emirates, and while the defender's Nations Cup participation appears doubtful, he hasn't been completely ruled out of contention.

    The national side have already been depleted by injuries at the back, with Harrison Afful, Nicholas Opoku, Daniel Amartey and Jeffrey Schlupp among a swathe of absentees.

  3. Abdoul Karim Cisse

    Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas confirmed on Saturday that goalkeeper Cisse will miss out on the Nations Cup.

    In a statement on their Twitter handle, the domestic heavyweights revealed that the stopper has sustained serious ligament and meniscus damage to his right knee, and faces an extended spell on the sidelines.

    While Cisse would likely have played understudy to Sylvain Gbohouo in Egypt, he is nonetheless a stalwart of the national side, and will be missed.

  4. Getty Images

    Yves Bissouma

    Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba has revealed Yves Bissouma will miss the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations owing to a fractured shoulder.

    The Brighton midfielder was selected in the Eagles’ provisional squad and was slated to join up with the side at their training camp in Kabala, Bamako.

    Having caught the eye during the 2017 tournament, Bissouma had the potential to be a key man for the Eagles as they look to escape from Group B, which also contains Nigeria, Burundi and Madagascar.

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    Naby Keita

    Jurgen Klopp announced that the midfielder wouldn’t play for the Reds again this term—or for Guinea—after picking up a knock against Barcelona in the first leg of the Merseysiders’ semi-final.

    However, the Guinea FA were unwilling to accept this prognosis, with federation president Antonio Souare revealing his confidence that the midfielder’s adductor problems may yet be overcome before the tournament, which begins on June 21.

    Keita may have missed out on the Champions League final—he watched on as the Reds clinched the title—but has been named in Guinea's provisional Afcon squad.

    Clearly, the Syli National will do everything within their power to get the talismanic midfielder on the pitch in Egypt

  6. Getty

    Eric Bailly

    The Ivorian centre-back—a Nations Cup winner with the Elephants in 2015—will definitely miss out on the tournament after damaging his knee ligaments following a collision with Mateo Kovacic as Manchester United drew 1-1 with Chelsea.

    While his Red Devils career has taken a turn for the worse, Bailly is a key man for the West Africans, and will be missed in Egypt.

    The Elephants have called up the likes of Simon Deli, Cheick Comara and Ismael Traore as potential centre-back options, but can any effectively partner Wilfried Kanon?


    Mohamed Ben Amor

    Ben Amor’s World Cup was affected by fitness problems ahead of the tournament, and the midfielder ultimately made scant mark on the tournament.

    Yet again, the Etoile du Sahel man has been hit with another injury blow, having suffered a serious knee injury in the first leg of his club’s Caf Confederation Cup semi-final first leg against Zamalek SC.

    After rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, the 26-year-old missed Esperance's controversial final triumph against Wydad Casablanca, and will definitely miss the competition.

    He faces a long road back.

  8. Ferjani Sassi

    Tunisia’s midfield is set to be further depleted by the potential absence of influential playmaker Sassi.

    The North African nation’s federation confirmed in mid-April that the Zamalek star would spend approximately six weeks on the sidelines after injuring his ankle.

    Alain Giresse opted to take a gamble on the player, and Sassi is training alone as he looks to return in time.

    He could yet recover in time for the tournament, but at best, he'll be short of match sharpness.

  9. Getty Images

    Achraf Hakimi

    Hakimi has enjoyed a magnificent season on loan at Borussia Dortmund, but remains a doubt for the Afcon after being plunged into an injury nightmare of his own.

    The full-back was laid out during Dortmund’s Bundesliga bout with Wolfsburg in early April, with a broken metatarsal necessitating surgery.

    Nonetheless, he was named in Morocco's provisional squad for the tournament, with Herve Renard clearly optimistic he'll recover in time.

    Even though he is back in training, what can the defender offer having been out of action for so long?


  10. Backpagepix

    Itumeleng Khune

    South Africa will be counting on their superb defensive record as they look to escape the Group of Death after being pooled with Morocco, the Ivory Coast and Namibia.

    However, they’ll have to do so without their star stopper Khune, who was ruled out due to shoulder problems.

    Defensively, it’s a massive blow for Bafana Bafana, while Khune’s pinpoint kicking is also a major offensive asset for Stuart Baxter’s side.