Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will only play in one of their countries AFCON 2022 qualifiers during the international break due to Covid restrictions.

17-10-2020, Arsenal's Thomas Partey. Copyright: Alex Livesey
17-10-2020, Arsenal’s Thomas Partey. Copyright: Alex Livesey

Thomas Partey received a late call up to the Ghana squad ahead of their AFCON qualifiers during the March international break.

Initial reports suggested he would only play one of their two fixtures, avoiding the trip to the ‘red list’ country South Africa. However, he was then left out of their squad announcement completely.

The Ghana FA have now confirmed they’re calling Partey up after all, but only for the Sao Tome and Principe match on March 28th. Arsenal have also confirmed the same information.

“Thomas has been selected in the Ghana squad, as they host Sao Tome & Principe and (travel to) South Africa in Africa Cup of Nation qualifying,” Arsenal said. “However, Thomas will only be available for the home fixture due to travel restrictions relating to South Africa.”

If Ghana manage a draw or a win in their AFCON qualifier against South Africa in Partey’s absence, they’ll have qualified for the tournament anyway. The Sao Tome and Principe will just be for pride, and Partey can hopefully take it easy.

But, if they lose in South Africa, Ghana are sure to name their strongest side for the second fixture to ensure qualification.

As for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal said in a statement, “Auba has been selected by Gabon, who will host DR Congo before a trip to face Angola. However, Auba will only be available for the home fixture due to travel restrictions relating to Angola.”

Gabon are second in their group on goal difference with seven points from their four games but a worse goal difference by two from Gambia.

Both South Africa and Angola are seen as ‘red list’ countries meaning the players would be required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days when they return to the UK if they featured in those games.

As it stands – with half of the group stage left to play – Ghana, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Egypt will all qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations. They’ll take Partey, Pepe, Aubameyang, and Elneny with them to the tournament, set for January-February 2022.

Check out our full chronological fixture list for Arsenal players over the international break here.