Friday, 6 January 2012

City pair hear African calling

Two Leicester City players have been called up to represent their countries at this year's Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

African calling: Pantsil and Bamba could play in Gabon final
Sol Bamba and John Pantsil could both travel to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea to play in the 28th Cup of Nations, having been selected in provisional squads for their respective nations. Full back Pantsil will resume his place in the Ghanaian defence, facing Botswana, Guinea and Mali in Group D, whilst centre half Bamba will take his place in the Ivory Coast team - alongside former Fox Max Gradel - in Group B to play Sudan, Burkina Faso and Angola.

Young striker Jeffrey Schlupp has, however, missed-out on his chance to join Pantsil in the Ghana squad despite appearing for the Black Stars in their friendly match against Gabon last month.

Leicester have joined an elite group, being one of just two nPower Championship teams to be represented at this year's Cup of Nations - Birmingham's Guirane N'Daw could earn his 40th cap for Senegal - with only five Premier League clubs losing players to the tournament. Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Queens Park Rangers are the only top flight English clubs represented this year.

The group stages kick-off on 21st January and the final, in Libreville, closes the competition on 12th February. That means that Bamba and Pantsil could miss away games at Brighton and Watford and the home game against Cardiff City subject to their sides' progression, in addition to upcoming fixtures against Barnsley, Middlesbrough and Southampton that take place at the same time as the group stages. In addition, neither player will be available for tomorrow's FA Cup Third Round tie against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground (KO 3pm) due to training commitments with their national teams.
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