Home » West Ham Denied Kudus for Brighton Clash as Ghana Call Up Star for AFCON

West Ham Denied Kudus for Brighton Clash as Ghana Call Up Star for AFCON

Ghana coach Chris Hughton rejects West Ham’s request to let Kudus play one more game before joining the AFCON camp

by Motoni Olodun

West Ham United will have to cope without their in-form winger Mohammed Kudus for their first game of 2024 against Brighton and Hove Albion, as Ghana have refused to permit him to play. Kudus, who has scored nine goals in 24 appearances for the Hammers this season, was expected to join his national team for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after the Premier League match on Tuesday night. However, Ghana coach Chris Hughton has insisted that all his players report to the camp on time, as the tournament kicks off on January 13 in Ivory Coast.

Kudus is not the only West Ham player who will miss the crucial clash with Brighton, as defender Nayef Aguerd has also been called up by Morocco for the AFCON. The Hammers are currently fourth in the table, level on points with third-placed Liverpool, and will be hoping to maintain their challenge for a Champions League spot. Brighton, on the other hand, are ninth and have lost only one of their last six games.

The AFCON, which was postponed from 2023 due to the coronavirus pandemic, will feature 24 teams competing for the continental crown. The tournament will run until February 6, meaning that the players involved could miss up to seven games for their clubs, depending on their progress. Some of the other Premier League stars who will be absent include Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The AFCON has been a source of controversy and debate among the clubs and the players, as it clashes with the busy domestic and European schedules. Some managers, such as Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, have expressed their frustration and called for a change in the calendar. However, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has defended its decision and said that it is the best option for the fans and the players.

Despite the challenges and difficulties, the AFCON promises to be a thrilling and exciting spectacle, showcasing the best of African football. The defending champions are Senegal, who won their first title in 2022 by beating Algeria in the final. The hosts, Ivory Coast, are among the favorites, along with Egypt, Nigeria, and Cameroon. The tournament will also feature some debutants, such as Comoros, Gambia, and Equatorial Guinea, who will be hoping to cause some upsets and surprises.

For Kudus, the AFCON will be a chance to shine on the international stage and help his country end its 41-year drought. Ghana have won the AFCON four times, but their last triumph was in 1982. Kudus has made 26 appearances for the Black Stars and scored six goals, including a stunning free-kick against South Africa in the qualifiers. He will be eager to replicate his club form for his country and make his mark in the AFCON.

For West Ham, the loss of Kudus will be a blow, but they will have to find other ways to cope and continue their impressive season. The Hammers have shown their resilience and quality under David Moyes, who has transformed them into a formidable and ambitious side. They will be hoping to get a positive result against Brighton and keep up the pressure on the top three. With or without Kudus, West Ham have plenty to play for and look forward to in 2024.

Source: talkSPORT

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