Date: 25th January 2017 at 12:45am
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The African Cup of Nations (ACoN) has seen it’s fair share of frustration from us every couple of years or so since we started to sign African players.

This time round though, the loss of three of our players hasn’t been felt as much but their return will certainly boost the squad.

With a 4th player in Henri Saivet not being noticed due to his loan out to St Etienne, the three players we have in the ACoN are Chancel Mbemba, Christian Atsu and Mo Diame.

Mbemba playing for Congo, Diame for Senegal with Saivet and Atsu for Ghana.

With the tournament on until early February, the frustration centres on the players potentially missing a month of our season and with news of all three players teams doing well, the time in which they will become available to play for us goes on.

With Atsu’s Ghana having 6 points and already being through to the quarter finals, the final group game to play will determine whether they finish the group top or 2nd, this will then dictate their path and the speed in which our players can return.

If they beat or draw against Egypt in their last group game then they will face Morocco but if they lose then it will be a game against Mbemba’s Congo side. This match will be played on Sunday and with a player on each side then it means the loser could be back on Tyneside by the time we face QPR on the Wednesday.

If both sides miss each other then both Congo and Ghana will still play on Sunday but Congo’s opponents are then dictated by other permutations meaning they could face either Egypt or Mali.

Senegal’s path is clearer with their fate already set with them playing Cameroon in the last eight on Saturday. If they win that then they face the winners of Congo’s quarter final match which means at least one of our players will definitely be out come Thursday next week.

With the final to be played next Sunday, the 5th of February, this means that all of our African players will be back in contention for our away televised trip to Wolves meaning they will only miss two more league games and giving the squad a welcome influx of players.

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