'We're losing a lot of players' - Nottingham Forest boss aware Aina, 5 others could be heading to the AFCON 

Published: December 06, 2023
'We're losing a lot of players' - Nottingham Forest boss aware Aina, 5 others could be heading to the AFCON 

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper is aware that at least six of his first team players will not be at his disposal as from next month when the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations begins in Ivory Coast. 


The number could have risen to seven but Taiwo Awoniyi has undergone surgery after aggravating a groin injury whilst on international duty with the Super Eagles in a 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Lesotho last month. 


The Super Eagles striker faces at least three months on the sidelines, practically ruling him out of the trip to Ivory Coast. 


Versatile right-back Ola Aina is guaranteed a spot on the Nigeria roster for the AFCON and he could be lining up against his Nottingham Forest teammates Serge Aurie, Willy Boly and Ibrahim Sangare when the Super Eagles do battle with hosts Ivory Coast on January 18 on matchday two in Group A. 


Cooper is also set to lose two other key players in Senegalese duo  Moussa Niakhate and Cheikhou Kouyate.


The Welsh football tactician revealed that the squad has to be managed as they face a busy schedule in December, with six games lined up.


Addressing the national press in England before his side's trip to Fulham, Cooper told reporters: "For sure we have to think about the period, robustness and freshness and obviously performance comes into as well and game plans.

"Obviously the other thing that has to come into our thinking is we're losing a lot of players to the Africa Cup of Nations so there are things to bear in mind while trying to prepare and put what we hope is the right team for the next game.

"And that's where we are with Fulham at the moment."

The earliest time the nominated players for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations can possibly return to Nottingham Forest is January 23, a day after the last round of matches in Group A. 




Ifeanyi Emmanuel 



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