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Why is Wilfried Zaha not participating in AFCON 2023?

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Wilfried Zaha won’t be part of Ivory Coast’s squad in their quest for a third Africa Cup of Nations title in 2024. Although the 31-year-old grew up in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, he moved to England at a young age and initially represented the Three Lions in non-competitive games.

Despite switching allegiance to Ivory Coast in 2016 and making 31 appearances with five goals, Zaha won’t feature in AFCON 2023. The Galatasaray player will miss the tournament, raising questions about his international career, which The Sporting News explores to shed light on the situation.

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Why is Wilfried Zaha not playing at AFCON 2023?

Wilfried Zaha’s exclusion from the 27-man Ivory Coast squad is perplexing, given his crucial role at Galatasaray since his move from Crystal Palace last summer.

Despite scoring six Super Lig goals and even netting against his former club in the Champions League, head coach Gasset opted not to select him, despite including him in the 54-man preselected squad list.

Gasset defended the decision, stating, “It was a very difficult decision to take, but we already have an exciting squad that boasts many right wingers. It’s a pure coach’s decision.”

AFCON 2023 schedule: Tournament dates for 2024 finals

The AFCON kicks off for tournament hosts Ivory Coast on January 13, as they face Guinea-Bissau in Abidjan. The group stages conclude on January 24, with the knockout rounds commencing three days later, leading up to the final scheduled for February 11.

The full details are listed below.

Stage Dates Nations
Group Stage Jan. 13 — 24 24
Round of 16 Jan. 27 — 30 16
Quarterfinals Feb. 2 — 3 8
Semifinals Feb. 7 4
3rd Place Match Feb. 10 2
Final Feb. 11 2

How to watch AFCON 2023

Here’s how to watch AFCON 2023 matches across selected areas of the world’s major regions:

Region TV Streaming
USA beIN Sports Fubo, beIN Sports Connect, Fanatiz
Canada beIN Sports Canada Fubo Canada, beIN Sports Connect, Fanatiz
UK Sky Sports, BBC Sport Sky GO, Now TV, BBC iPlayer
Australia beIN Sports beIN Sports
India FanCode
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