How Newcastle and their rivals will be affected by African Cup of Nations
The African Cup of Nations finals take place in Gabon from 14 January 2017 until the final on 5 February 2017.
Past experience suggests players will hopefully still be around for the first Championship match of 2017 (2 Jan – Newcastle visit Blackburn), before heading off prior to the FA Cup third round date (7 Jan – NUFC are at Birmingham) for pre-tournament training camps.
Altogether, there are 26 Championship players who are eligible, though not all will be called up by the 16 countries who have reached the finals.
The Birmingham Mail have detailed which players, club by club, that could be called up from the Championship (though they did miss out Chancel Mbemba!).
Looking at the top six as it stands now, the African Cup of Nations isn’t looking a positive for Newcastle United.
There are five players eligible and whilst Tiote will almost certainly not be involved – Mbemba, Atsu, Lazaar and Diame are all very likely to be involved.
In contrast, second placed Brighton look almost certain not to have any players missing due to the African Cup of Nations, as LuaLua and Bong very unlikely to be involved.
The same goes for Reading (third), Leeds (fourth) and Sheffield Wednesday (sixth), all have one player each eligible but not expected to travel.
In fact, only (out of the top six) tomorrow’s opponents Birmingham (fifth) are also set to have a player heading to Gabon. Chancel Mbemba’s DR Congo teammate Jacques Maghoma has been injured but the midfielder will join the Newcastle defender if fit to travel.
There are five games in the Championship for Newcastle whilst the tournament is on and anybody getting out of the group stages would play a quarter final on the weekend of Sat 28/Sun 29 January, making it almost certain they wouldn’t be available for Newcastle v QPR on Wed 1 February, even if knocked out at that stage.
Newcastle host Derby County on Saturday 4 February, with the African Cup of Nations final the following day.
Only reaching the semi finals (1 Feb and 2 Feb) should prevent any Newcastle player being available.
Championship players eligible for African Cup of Nations
Aston Villa – Jonathan Kodjia (Ivory Coast), Jordan Ayew (Ghana), Albert Adomah (Ghana)
Barnsley – Andy Yiadom (Ghana)
Birmingham City – Jacques Maghoma (DR Congo)
Blackburn Rovers – None
Brentford – None
Brighton – Kazenga Lua Lua (DR Congo), Gaetan Bong (Cameroon)
Bristol City – None
Burton Albion – None
Cardiff City – Marouane Chamakh (Morocco), Sol Bamba (Ivory Coast), Bruno Ecuele Manga (Gabon)
Derby County – None
Fulham – Neeskens Kebano (DR Congo), Floyd Ayite (Togo)
Huddersfield Town – None
Ipswich Town – None
Leeds United – Ronaldo Vieira (Guinea-Bissau)
Newcastle United – Cheick Tiote (Ivory Coast), Christian Atsu (Ghana), Mo Diame (Senegal), Achraf Lazaar (Morocco), Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo)
Norwich City – Sebastien Bassong (Cameroon), Youssouf Mulumbu (DR Congo)
Nottingham Forest – Britt Assombalonga (DR Congo), Armand Traore (Senegal)
Preston – None
QPR – None
Reading – Yakou Meite (Ivory Coast)
Rotherham United – None
Sheffield Wednesday – Modou Sougou (Senegal)
Wigan Athletic – None
Wolves – Romain Saiss (Morocco), Nouha Dicko (Mali)
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