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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Partey headache hits Ghana ahead of Ethiopia and South Africa showdowns

15:13 GMT 07/11/2021
Thomas Partey Ghana
The Arsenal man could be missing when the Black Stars line up against the Walias and Bafana

Ghana face uncertainty about the availability of midfield dynamo Thomas Partey for their crucial upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying fixtures against Ethiopia and South Africa, as the player has had to sit out Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Watford on Sunday.

On the back of a run of successive games for The Gunners, having seemingly put behind an injury plague that blighted his performances last season, the 28-year-old was a surprise omission as Arsenal announced their team news for the Watford showdown, revealing the absence is a result of a “tight groin”.

No further information was given on the player’s situation, and it remains to be seen the degree of the condition, the possible recovery time, and for that matter his availability for his national team games.

Goal understands Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac, who named Partey in a 28-man squad earlier this week, was informed about the latest development on Saturday and the Serbian has already started preparing for the possible absence of his star man.

Ahead of the final two rounds of matches in the African zone second round, the Black Stars currently trail Group G leaders South Africa by a point, making the upcoming games crucial to their chances of achieving a return to the global showpiece.  

The three-time World Cup participants, who missed out on Russia 2018, are set to play as visitors of Ethiopia on November 11, three days before hosting the group leaders for a final matchday showdown in what is likely to decide the winners of the group.

Only the team at the top of the table will progress to the third and final qualifying round.

Partey has been a key man for the Black Stars in the qualifiers so far, his importance highlighted by goals in their last two matches.

In the matchday three home tie against Zimbabwe last month, the midfielder was among the scorers as Ghana recorded a 3-1 win in Cape Coast.

Three days later in the reverse fixture in Harare, the former Atletico Madrid man showed up once again, netting the solitary goal as Ghana ensured a slim 1-0 away triumph.