Why Thomas Partey has been left out of Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations squad

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey lost his race against time to be fit for the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana in the coming weeks, missing out on his country’s final 27-player squad.

Partey has made nearly 50 senior international appearances since his 2016 debut and was at last winter’s World Cup in Qatar. But a hamstring injury that has been troubling him for a couple of months has cost the 30-year-old a place at the AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast.

The Gunners player wasn’t named in Ghana coach Chris Hughton’s provisional squad last month and was, perhaps unsurprisingly, still absent when the final list was eventually confirmed.

“I’ve spent a lot of this period of time with Thomas and also engaged the medical staff at Arsenal. They will treat this injury with caution, and so will the player. This is a big injury for him, the biggest injury he’s had,” Hughton explained at a press conference for the squad announcement.

Thomas Partey had been captaining Ghana in 2023Thomas Partey had been captaining Ghana in 2023

Thomas Partey had been captaining Ghana in 2023 / John Dorton/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

“The most important thing for me as head coach is to give him the support he needs during this period of time. From all the information we’ve been given, the timelines of his recovery and the caution that will be taken will not meet our timelines for the AFCON.”

The insinuation is that a fit Partey would have been part of the squad looking to win only Ghana’s third African title after a number of near misses over the past 16 years.

The Black Stars reached at least the semi-finals in six consecutive AFCONs between 2008 and 2017, finishing as runners-up in 2010 and 2015 in particular. Ghana were last crowned African champions way back in 1982 when national football icon Abedi Pele, now 59 and father to veteran internationals Andre and Jordan Ayew, was at the very start of his career.

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