AFCON draw offers duels between Premier League team-mates and rivals

15 Oct 2023
Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey

We highlight the key match-ups that lie ahead in the group stages at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations

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A host of Premier League stars are set to go head-to-head following the draw for the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations, which will take place between 13 January and 11 February 2024 in Ivory Coast.

Defending champions Senegal have a tough draw, facing five-time winners Cameroon in Group C, along with Guinea and Gambia.

It means Senegal's Nicolas Jackson and Pape Matar Sarr, who play their club football for Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, could line up against Cameroon's Andre Onana and Bryan Mbeumo, of Manchester United and Brentford.

Former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, who plays for Senegal and helped conduct the draw, said: "It's a really difficult group. Cameroon is going to be really tough but we will give our best to go through from the first round."

There will be a similarly huge match-up in Group A as hosts Ivory Coast come up against three-time AFCON winners Nigeria, a match that could have four Nottingham Forest players on the pitch at the same time.

Serge Aurier, Willy Boly and Ibrahim Sangare are likely to feature for Ivory Coast, while Ola Aina is set to be in the Nigeria squad.

Boly Awoniyi

Mohamed Salah's Egypt, who were losing finalists in the 2022 tournament, will have to navigate past Ghana in Group B. Arsenal team-mates Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are set to go head-to-head in that fixture.

In Group E, Sheffield United team-mates Ismaila Coulibaly and Anis Ben Slimane could line up against each other with Mali and Tunisia respectively, while Burnley talisman Lyle Foster is set to be a key figure for South Africa, having started the Premier League season with three goals and two assists in six matches.

Listed below are the 24 countries who have qualified and the Premier League players who could represent them this winter.

Group A

Equatorial Guinea: N/A
Guinea-Bissau: N/A
Ivory Coast:
 Hamed Traore (Bournemouth), Simon Adingra (Brighton & Hove Albion), Amad Diallo (Man Utd), Serge AurierWilly BolyIbrahim Sangare (all Nott'm Forest), Benie Traore (Sheff Utd), Maxwell Cornet (West Ham)
Nigeria: Ola Aina (Nott'm Forest), Calvin BasseyAlex Iwobi (both Fulham), Frank Onyeka (Brentford)

Group B

Cape Verde: N/A
 Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Ghana: Thomas Partey (Arsenal), Antoine Semenyo (Bournemouth), Tariq Lamptey (Brighton), Jordan Ayew, Mohammed Kudus (West Ham United)
Mozambique: N/A

Group C

Cameroon: Andre Onana (Man Utd), Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford), Carlos Baleba (Brighton)
Guinea: N/A
 Nicolas Jackson (Chelsea), Idrissa Gueye (EvertonCheikhou KouyateMoussa Niakhate (both Nott'm Forest), Pape Matar Sarr (Spurs), Fode Ballo-Toure (Fulham)

Group D

Algeria: Said Benrahma (West Ham), Rayan Ait-Nouri (Wolves),  Yasser Larouci (Sheff Utd)
Angola: N/A
Burkina Faso: Bertrand Traore (Aston Villa), Dango Ouattara (BournemouthIssa Kabore (Luton)
Mauritania: N/A

Group E

Mali: Cheick Doucoure (Crystal Palace), Ismaila Coulibaly (Sheffield Utd), Yves Bissouma (Tottenham Hotspur), Boubacar Traore (Wolves)
Namibia: N/A
South Africa: Lyle Foster (Burnley)
Tunisia: Hannibal Mejbri (Man Utd), Anis Ben Slimane (Sheff Utd)

Group F

DR Congo: Yoane Wissa (Brentford), Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton)
Anass Zaroury (Burnley), Sofyan Amrabat (Man Utd), Nayef Aguerd (West Ham)
Tanzania: N/A
Zambia: N/A

Key dates 
Date Event
6 January FA Cup third round
W/C 8 January Carabao Cup semi-final first legs
13 January PL MW21 begins
13 January First match of AFCON
13-27 January Mid-season player break
W/C 22 January Carabao Cup semi-final second legs
27 January FA Cup fourth round
30 January PL MW22 begins
3 February PL MW23 begins
10 February PL MW24 begins
11 February AFCON final
Premier League fixtures during AFCON

Saturday 13 January 2024
12:30 Chelsea v Fulham 
17:30 Newcastle v Man City 

Sunday 14 January 2024
14:00 Everton v Aston Villa 
16:30 Man Utd v Spurs 

Monday 15 January 2024
19:45 Burnley v Luton Town
****Should either club be involved in an FA Cup replay, this match will move to 19:45 on Friday 12 January. Should either club be involved in an FA Cup replay and Burnley also be involved in the EFL Cup semi-finals, the match will be played at 12:00 on Sunday 14 January.

Saturday 20 January 2024
12:30 Arsenal v Crystal Palace 
17:30 Brentford v Nott'm Forest 

Sunday 21 January 2024
14:00 Sheff Utd v West Ham
16:30 AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool 

Monday 22 January 2024
19:45 Brighton v Wolves

Tuesday 30 January 2024
19:30 Nott'm Forest v Arsenal 
19:45 Fulham v Everton
19:45 Luton Town v Brighton
20:00 Crystal Palace v Sheff Utd
20:15 Aston Villa v Newcastle 

Wednesday 31 January 2024
19:30 Man City v Burnley 
19:30 Spurs v Brentford
20:15 Liverpool v Chelsea

Thursday 1 February 2024
19:30 West Ham v AFC Bournemouth
20:15 Wolves v Man Utd

Saturday 3 February 2024
AFC Bournemouth v Nott'm Forest
Arsenal v Liverpool
Brentford v Man City
Brighton v Crystal Palace
Burnley v Fulham
Chelsea v Wolves
Everton v Spurs
Man Utd v West Ham
Newcastle v Luton Town
Sheff Utd v Aston Villa

Saturday 10 February 2024
Aston Villa v Man Utd
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Fulham v AFC Bournemouth
Liverpool v Burnley
Luton Town v Sheff Utd
Man City v Everton
Nott'm Forest v Newcastle
Spurs v Brighton
West Ham v Arsenal
Wolves v Brentford


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