Ghana’s preparations for the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire has been shaken as star midfielder Thomas Partey has been sidelined from the national squad due to a lingering injury.
Despite expectations of his participation despite a lengthy absence from the pitch, the Arsenal player’s exclusion has been confirmed by Ghana’s head coach, Chris Hughton.
The tournament, set to commence on January 13, 2024, after a six-month delay, will occur in the midst of the Premier League season. Partey’s absence from Arsenal’s lineup since his brief appearance in a 1-0 victory over Manchester City on October 8 has been attributed to a thigh surgery undergone at the beginning of November. Hopes were high for his return to action in the new year, but his recovery is progressing slower than anticipated.
Hughton emphasised the significance of Thomas Partey to Ghana’s squad and clarified that the exclusion was solely due to the injury. “Withstanding his injury, he certainly would be in the squad. We know the quality of player that he is. This is a player that has a substantial injury,” stated Hughton upon announcing the squad.
The severity of the injury and the cautious approach taken by Arsenal’s medical team, along with Partey’s own discretion, have dictated a more extended recovery timeline, making it improbable for him to make it to the AFCON. While he remains in the final stages of recuperation in London, the prospects of his imminent return to action remain uncertain.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expressed hope for Partey’s return this month, acknowledging the team’s recent challenges. However, the unpredictability surrounding the midfielder’s recovery makes it difficult to specify a definitive return date.
Despite a slightly less demanding schedule for Arsenal in January, depending on their FA Cup progression, the Ghanaian’s absence continues to pose a challenge for the team.