More than 50 Premier League players are likely to be called up for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Premier League sides could miss their top African and Asian players for up to 4 games this January and February.
Teams like Newcastle United and Manchester City could be completely unaffected, but Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United could lose up to 4 players to the tournaments. Of course, some of the players likely to be missing might not get selected or could get injured.
How Many Will Be Missing? Which Players Will Be Away?
The number of games missed depends on how far each country progresses through the tournament, with players from teams eliminated in the group stage or round of 16 likely to miss just two Premier League fixtures in the coming months.
But it is likely that quite a few Premier League players at the Africa Cup of Nations will miss more than just a couple of games. This could give some teams a disadvantage. But rather than the number of players, the real difference will be which players will likely be missing.
Due to the notable number of heading to AFCON this year, the competition gets the most attention among Premier League fans. But the 2023 Asian Cup is also scheduled to take place at the same time and will see some key absences.
How FIFA Could Have Mitigated The Possible Impact
Clubs are aware of the prospect of missing players for a certain period when they sign African or Asian players so they can’t really complain. But at the same time, FIFA could have mitigated the impact by arranging the international fixture calendar accordingly.
Premier League clubs have plenty of time to prepare, with most of them likely with a plan already. But factors like injuries could add uncertainty. Even after they have returned, the two competitions could have an impact on the missing players in terms of accumulated fatigue.