The 2012 African Cup of Nations (ACN) kicks off on January 21st when co-host Equatorial Guinea take on Libya. The action for Premier League-based players begins immediately however, as coaches have called in their squads to begin a two-week training camp.
For the first time in recent history, continental powerhouses Egypt have joined Cameroon and Nigeria on the sidelines as they failed to qualify for this year's tournament. Arsene Wenger would have been more interested than most as he will retain the services of influential midfielder Alex Song over this winter period.
Other teams, however, are not so lucky, as a disproportionate amount of key players from Manchester City, Chelsea and especially Newcastle will be absent for a swath of critical games. Tyneside boss Alan Pardew may very well hope for an early exit for Côte d'Ivoire, but considering their squad they may very well go all the way to the final on February 12th, he''ll have to suffer in silence.
Cover will be vigorously sought in the form of short-term loans this month, as these players are all valuable first-teamers for their respective clubs. In order of least to most influential, here are 10 players who will be greatly missed by their clubs for the duration of the tournament.