Ghana's quest to end the 41-year African Cup of Nations (AFCON) drought has hit a setback with the absence of star midfielder Thomas Partey due to a thigh injury.
The Arsenal player has been a key figure for the national team but will miss the 2023 AFCON, adding to his absence from over 11 Premier League matches for Arsenal this season.
Partey, who made his AFCON debut in 2017, played a crucial role in Ghana's qualification to the semi-finals. However, his performances for the national team have been a subject of criticism despite some memorable outings.
In response to Partey's absence, Ghana's coach Chris Hughton expressed confidence in his squad's ability to cope. He acknowledged Partey's importance but emphasized the quality of the replacements available.
“Thomas Partey, for sure, and I say this not in a detrimental way to the squad that we have, but he is one of our most important players. We know the quality of player that he is,” said Chris Hughton during the squad announcement.
Majeed Ashimeru is expected to step into Partey's role, having already demonstrated his capabilities. The coach's tactical decisions and the team's performance will face scrutiny, especially after recent criticisms of Hughton's strategies.
While winning AFCON is not solely dependent on one player, Thomas Partey's absence might impact Ghana's standing among formidable competitors entering the tournament with star-studded squads.