AFCON: Zaha, Choupo-Moting named in national squads, Ziyech left out

Doubts over the tournament going ahead because of the surge in Covid cases were dispelled during the week by African football chief Patrice Motsepe.

FILE PHOTO: Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha has been recalled to the Ivory Coast squad for the upcoming African Cup of Nations.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha and Bayern Munich striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting were named in their respective national squads for next month's African Cup of Nations on Thursday while Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech was left out.

Zaha was recalled to the Ivory Coast squad after the 29-year-old had refused to join the team at its last gathering in November but coach Patrice Beaumelle has included him in the squad for the tournament which gets underway on January 9 in Cameroon.

The experienced line-up also includes Ajax centre-forward Sebastien Haller, and six members of the team that lifted the trophy for the second time in 2015, notably defenders Serge Aurier and Eric Bailly as well as striker Max Gradel.

Choupo-Moting was named in host Cameroon's 28-man squad after recovering from Covid-19.

Choupo-Moting tested positive mid-November but will join Lyon striker Karl Toko-Ekambi for the five-time tournament winner which last lifted the trophy in 2017 and is favourite along with Mohamed Salah's Egypt.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip was not named in coach Toni Conceicao's group for the tournament.

Ziyech was the notable absentee as Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic named his squad.

READ: CAF president confirms Cup of Nations to go ahead in Cameroon

The Chelsea winger had a fallout with the coach earlier this year and was overlooked for the six World Cup qualifiers played between September and November, making his omission no shock although the Dutch-born Ziyech is seen as Morocco's key player.

Halilhodzic also left out the Ajax Amsterdam full back Noussair Mazraoui, who he also accused in mid-year of feigning injury to get out of playing in a friendly, an accusation Mazraoui has since denied.

The veteran coach sprung a surprise by naming Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, who has broken into Barcelona's team, and attacking midfielder Azzedine Ounahi, who has been one of the players key to Angers' bright start to the Ligue 1 season in France. Both are uncapped.

Ivory Coast's group includes Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Algeria.

Cameroon will face Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Ethiopia in the group stage.

Morocco competes in Group C with Comoros Islands, Gabon and Ghana.

Doubts over the tournament going ahead because of the surge in Covid cases were dispelled during the week by African football chief Patrice Motsepe.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Ivory Coast Squad

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (Wolkite Ketema), Badra Ali (JDR Stars), Ira Tapé (FC San Pedro), Cissé Abdul Karim (Asec Mimosas)

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Villareal), Éric Bailly (Manchester United), Willy Boly (Wolverhampton), Wilfried Kanon (Pyramids FC), Odilon Kossonou (Bayer Leverkusen), Simon Deli (Adana Demirspor); Ghislain Konan (Reims)

Midfielders: Habib Maiga (Metz), Serey Die (FC Sion), Ibrahim Sangaré (PSV Eindhoven), Jean Daniel Akpa Akpro (Lazio), Franck Kessie (AC Milan), Hamed Junior Traoré (Sassuolo), Jean Michael Seri (Fulham)

Forwards: Maxwell Cornet (Burnley), Max Gradel (Sivasspor), Jérémie Boga (Sassuolo), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Jean Évrard Kouassi (Trabzonspor), Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal), Christian Kouame (Anderlecht), Sebastien Haller (Ajax), Johan Boli (Al-Rayan), Konaté Karim (Asec Mimosas)

Cameroon Squad

Goalkeepers: Simon Omossola (AS Vita Club), Devis Epassy (OFI Crete), Jean Efala Konguep (Akwa United), André Onana (Ajax)

Defenders: Collins Fai (Standard Liège), Olivier Mbaizo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Ngadeu (Gent), Jean-Charles Castelletto (FC Nantes), Harold Moukoudi (AS Saint-Etienne), Jérôme Onguéné (RB Salzburg), Nouhou Tolo (Seattle Sounders), Ambroise Oyongo (Montpellier), Enzo Ebossé (Angers)

Midfielders: Jean Onana (Bordeaux), André-Frank Zambo-Anguissa (Napoli), Yvan Neyou (AS Saint-Etienne), James Léa Siliki (Middlesbrough), Martin Hongla (Verona), Samuel Gouet (Mechelen), Pierre Kundé (Olympiakos)

Strikers: Vincent Aboubakar (Al Nasr Riyad), Stéphane Bahoken (Angers), Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern Munich), Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu (Young Boys Berne), Ignatius Ganago (Lens), Christian Bassogog (Shanghai Shenhua), Karl Toko-Ekambi (Lyon), Clinton Njie (Dynamo Moscow)

Morocco Squad

Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla), Munir (Hatayspor), Anas Zniti (Raja Casablanca)

Defenders: Nayef Aguerd (Stade Rennes), Sofiane Alakouch (Metz), Sofian Chakla (OH Leuven), Souffian El Karouani (NEC Nijmegen), Achraf Hakimi (Paris St Germain), Adam Masina (Watford), Samy Mmaee (Ferencvaros), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Midfielders: Selim Amallah (Standard Liege), Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina), Aymen Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers), Faycal Fajr (Sivasspor), Imran Louza (Watford), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers)

Forwards: Zakaria Aboukhlal (AZ Alkmaar), Sofiane Boufal (Angers), Munir El Haddadi (Sevilla), Ayoub El Kaabi (Hatayspor), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla), Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Barcelona), Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros)

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