Ghana coach Chris Hughton has explained why midfielder Thomas Partey was not included in the team’s final squad for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

Partey has been sidelined since October due to a hamstring issue and has made only five appearances for Arsenal this season following a groin injury.

Hughton emphasised the importance of Partey to the Black Stars, stating “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. Withstanding his injury, he certainly would be in the squad. We know the quality of the player that he is.”

“This is a player that has a substantial injury. I’ve spent a lot over this period of time with Thomas and also engaging with the medical staff at Arsenal Football Club. They will treat this injury with caution, and so will the player. This is a big injury for him and the biggest injury that he’s had.

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

The coach also mentioned that Partey’s absence is not the only setback for Ghana, as they will also miss other key players such as Baba Rahman, Tariq Lamptey, and Kamaldeen Sulemana, who are all unavailable for various reasons, including injuries.

Despite these challenges, Ghana will still be expected to perform well in the tournament, particularly in their group, which includes Egypt, Cape Verde, and Mozambique.

The team’s performance in the previous edition was disappointing, and they were eliminated in the group stage. Therefore, Hughton’s side will be eager to make a better impression this time around.


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