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Crystal Palace waiting on departure dates for AFCON-bound players

By December 27, 2021No Comments

Crystal Palace are waiting for clarification on when Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate will leave for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Ivory Coast winger Zaha, Ghana’s Ayew and Senegal international Kouyate have been called up for next month’s tournament in Cameroon, ruling them out of a crucial period in Palace’s season.

Assistant boss Osian Roberts says the three players may depart at different times, but that is being negotiated with their national teams.

Roberts said: “The three will go to AFCON. It’s a major tournament so we respect that and they’re very proud to play.

“We are not sure when everybody is going to leave, there’s an ongoing discussion between the players and the federations and managers.

“We are still seeking clarification on when they will go. Some may go earlier than others.”

Zaha may be one of the players to leave early given he is suspended for Palace’s game with Norwich on Tuesday following his foolish red card in the 3-0 defeat at Spurs on Boxing Day.

Palace, who tried to get the match called off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 which saw boss Patrick Vieira absent from the game, had conceded two goals in two minutes shortly before Zaha picked up a petulant second yellow card.

Although they had several cases of coronavirus which disrupted their preparations for the London derby, they only made one change to their starting XI.

And Roberts says attention is already on Tuesday’s visit of Norwich.

“It’s already been said in the dressing room, we have 48 hours to recover,” he said. “At home, we’ve had some really good performances. We love playing in front of our home fans and we’ll need them on Tuesday.

“We know it’s a big game for both teams and we have to be ready. Once the final whistle went, into the dressing room and we’re immediately into recovery strategy.

“We’ll get right, be in tomorrow, of course, to get planning and preparation for the match so we’re nice and clear to the game which we see as a really big game.

“We know it’ll be a different game on Tuesday, a different style of play and we’ll have to be ready. We’ll respect the opponents as we always do. Playing at home will be about how we recover.”