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How Manchester United’s opponents are affected by AFCON

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off next month with players from all over the world jetting to Cameroon to represent their country.

Manchester United will see Eric Bailly travel with Ivory Coast as they eye their third triumph in the competition. Although it was elation for the Ivorian defender, it was disappointment for Amad who missed out on the squad.

In the build-up to the tournament, there have been reports of a possible cancellation as COVID threatens to boil over once more.

The European Club Association (ECA) previously wrote to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) informing them there is ‘no intention’ to release African players for the four-week period.

However, CAF moved to rubbish the reports — insisting that AFCON will happen.

So 24 African countries will descend on Cameroon, while some teams from the Premier League without their key players absent for an important stage of the season.

With the tournament running between January 9 and February 6, Ralf Rangnick’s side will play three times between the start and completion of AFCON but how will United’s opponents be affected?

Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard will come face-to-face with Ralf Rangnick twice in five days as Villa travel to Old Trafford in the FA Cup before hosting the corresponding fixture against the Reds.

While Marvellous Nakamba will not be travelling for the tournament with his native Zimbabwe, he will be absent after undergoing surgery.

But tricky winger Bertrand Traore and Trezeguet will be on international duty with Burkina Faso and Egypt respectively.

West Ham

The Hammers will have no participants at the Africa Cup of Nations and will be unaffected.

Burnley

Sean Dyche could be without star man Maxwel Cornet with the Ivorian selected to be a part of the Elephants’ squad, alongside Bailly.

Their visit to Turf Moor comes just two days after the tournament finishes leaving a cloud of doubt surrounding their summer signings involvement should they make it to the final.

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