Thomas Partey hasn’t joined up with the Ghana squad yet, and will be available to face Norwich City on Boxing Day before leaving.
There has been some confusion online in the last couple of days over when the Arsenal players leave for AFCON.
The actual tournament doesn’t start until Saturday, 9th January 2022, but there were some suggestions Thomas Partey had already left to join up with the Ghana squad.
James Benge has denied these rumours, but confirmed that it won’t be long before the midfielder leaves.
According to Benge, Partey remains in London for the time being, and barring an injury or other setback, he’ll be available to face Norwich City on Boxing Day.
Clubs are then to release their AFCON players from December 27th onwards.
Ghana are one of the first teams to play at the tournament, with a match against Morocco on day two (Monday, 10th January). So if December 27th is the earliest release date, Partey probably won’t be around any later than that.
Partey is not the only Arsenal player leaving. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, and Mohamed Elneny are also expected to join their countries for the event.
In their cases, you wouldn’t expect them to stick around at Arsenal longer than necessary, as they aren’t getting regular minutes for the team anyway.
There’s been some doubt around AFCON in the last few weeks, what with the current Covid-19 situation.
The European Clubs Association wrote a letter to FIFA to express concerns over the well-being of players, and then followed that up with another to CAF. FIFA president Gianni Infantino is supporting the calls to postpone.
But the organisers appear unmoved at this stage, and it looks like they’re pushing on as planned.