Picking an Africa Cup of Nations Absentee XI

Ed Dove picks his dream teams of players who have failed to qualify for the Afcon

  1. İHA

    GK: Ali Ahamada

    The former Toulouse stopper—who represented France at U-21 level—was unable to help the Comoros pull off matchday six heroics against Cameroon at the weekend, where he endured an outing to forget.


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    DF: Bruno Ecuele Manga

    Manga was imperious as Cardiff City returned to the Premier League last season, and will need to be at his best to keep them up following the injury to Sol Bamba. He wasn't able to help Gabon get the win they needed against Burundi this weekend.



    DF: Djene Dakonam

    Targeted by Barcelona and Arsenal, the Getafe defender has improved significantly in recent years. Togo’s failure to beat Benin, however, means he’ll be missing from the Afcon.


  4. FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

    DF: Mexer

    Mexer squeezes out Omar Colley and Bakary Kone to take the third defensive spot in our Afcon no-show dream team. He's amassed 113 Ligue 1 outings for Stade Rennais over the last five seasons.


  5. RW: Bertrand Traore

    Another familiar face from the French top flight to miss out is Traore, who was unable to help Burkina Faso avoid a horror-show of a qualifying campaign.

    They were eliminated from the running despite winning their final group game, meaning ex-Chelsea wideman Traore, who has scored seven Ligue 1 goals for Olympique Lyonnais this term, won’t be present in Egypt.


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    MF: Mario Lemina

    Lemina is another Gabonese star who’ll miss out on the tournament after they were pipped by Burundi. The Southampton man hasn’t hit the heights in the Premier League after previous spells with Juventus and Olympique de Marseille.


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    MF: Pedro Obiang

    Obiang opted to represent Equatorial Guinea in 2018, having previously held out for Spain, whom he represented at youth level. His arrival on the scene wasn’t enough for the Nzalang Nacional to nab one of the two qualifying berths in Group A.


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    MF: Geoffrey Kondogbia

    Kondogbia, like Obiang, finally opted to turn out for the land of his origin—the Central African Republic—after having represented France in non-competitive fixtures. The Valencia man, however, was unable to help them outmuscle the Ivory Coast or Guinea to progress.


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    LW: Denis Bouanga

    One of the less heralded players in this list, but Bouanga caught the eye for Gabon when he burst onto the scene at the last Afcon, and is mighty unfortunate to miss out this time around. The wideman has made 25 appearances for Nimes in Ligue 1 so far this term, and his twinkle toes will be missed in Egypt.


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    FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    Aubameyang will be the most high-profile absentee from the Nations Cup later this year, after he was unable to fire Gabon past Burundi.

    The hitman is arguably Africa’s top striker in the world today, with the former Bundesliga top scorer having netted 27 goals in the Premier League alone since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.


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    FW: Emmanuel Adebayor

    Once Africa’s most expensive player, Ade’s hopes of a final hurrah with Togo in 2019 were dashed when they failed to beat Benin at the weekend.

    The striker is now reportedly considering his international future, having represented the Sparrow Hawks at five previous Afcon tournaments.