Papiss Cisse’s Senegal and Mehdi Abeid’s Algeria have been drawn in Group C of the 2015 African Cup of Nations alongside Ghana and South Africa in a selection of countries that has already been called the Group of Death.
The tournament, which is due to be staged in Equatorial Guinea in January next year after Morocco pulled out of hosting the competition, will also feature perennial underachievers Ivory Coast, who feature Newcastle United’s vice-captain Cheick Tiote.
Newcastle will certainly be without Cisse for a couple of weeks and are sure to miss him dearly as the Senegalese striker is the Magpies’ top scorer this season and has shown he’s still a threat for Premier League defences.
Despite missing much of the season through injury, Alan Pardew will also be loathed to be without the services of Tiote, who has his critics but still brings a steeliness to the Newcastle midfield.
Although Abeid has yet to win an international cap, he was called up for qualifiers earlier in the year by Algeria and the Frenchman has been an unexpected star for Newcastle this season, so may well make the final squad.
Cisse, Tiote and Abeid are a trio that Newcastle could do with, but as the Magpies have already shown this season through dealing adequately with their current injury crisis, absentees bring new opportunities for other members of the squad to stand up and be counted.