With the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations set to kick off in Cameroon, football fans are going to miss some great names as well as discover some debutants in the competition.

Nigeria is missing Victor Osimhen and Emmanuel Dennis. Besides, Cyprus-based Abdullahi Shehu, and Scotland's Rangers' Leon Balogun, were also ruled out of the country's squad heading to the 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations.


Osimhen's withdrawal became inevitable after the 22-year-old, who recently declared himself fit, tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time in 2021 last December, according to a statement by his Italian side Napoli. The development has now forced the former Wolfsburg striker, who is also still recovering from a facial injury, to pull out from the continent showpiece.

Injury also forced the withdrawals of defenders Balogun and Shehu, while in-form striker Dennis pulled out for administrative reasons, depleting the attack and defense of the three-time African champions. In the meantime, striking duo of Henry Onyekuru (Olympiacos, Greece) and Czech Republic Slavia Praha's Peter Olayinka were named as replacements for Osimhen and Dennis respectively.

In the defense, Venezia's Tyrone Ebuehi and West Bromwich Albion's Oluwasemilogo Ajayi took the spots of Shehu and Balogun respectively. The quartet's withdrawals come as huge blow for the Super Eagles, who have been pitched in Group D with Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau.

On the other hand, Guinea Conakry brought in two reinforcements after the withdrawal Florentin Pogba (FC Sochaux, France) "victim of a right knee and ankle injury " and Antoine Conté, who played for the French Youth team and now at Universitatea Craivo (Romania), felt that he was "not at 100% of his physical form" according to a statement from the Guinean Federation. The two players called in as reinforcements are Fodé Camara from Horoya AC and Gaoussou Siby Youssouf from Wakrya AC.

First-timers The Comoros, will be lining up highly spirited players such as Switzerland- based, Rafidine Abdullah as well as Faiz Selemani who scored the solitary goal against Togo that buoyed Comoros' chances of qualifying. Abdou will also be heavily relying on his captain, Mohamed Ben Nabouhane's leadership qualities on the field to spur his side in what again looks like another impossible feat to achieve.

"Ben," as the skipper is affectionately known, captains his side with a confidence boosting accolade to his name, having scored the only goal in his country's first win in a competitive international match against Botswana during the preliminary AFCON qualifier stages.