As the official squad lists for the African teams emerge, the bigger the hole we see in all of the major leagues in Europe. In Spain, ten from LaLiga, eight from LaLiga 1|2|3 and one from the third division have been called up so far (19 in total). This is not a relatively high number for Spain when you consider there were 26 just two years ago, but the country is fifth in the list of countries with the most representatives.
Only France (69), England (39), Portugal (25) and Turkey (20) will be more affected that the Spanish championships. France, as always, will have the most football players and will lose almost twice as many as the English league, who aresecond with a growing African presence. Third, this time, are Portugal, handicapped due to the debut in the African Cup of one of its former colonies, Guinea Bissau, whose players almost exclusively play their football in Portugal. FIFA includes the African Cup in its official calendar despite the fact that it is played in the middle of the big European championships. In this way, the clubs are obliged to let the summoned players leave.
Today, Ghana and Uganda's squad lists will be revealed, the last teams to announce their selections. Barring surprise, Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid and Brimah Razak from Cordoba will be named, which will leave the number at 19 those leaving Spain to travel south for the tournament. The only other top club to be losing a player will be Villarreal, who lose Cedric Bakambu to Congo.
The rest of the players who will leave are from teams outside of the European places such as Koné (Málaga/Burkina Faso), Mandi (Betis/Argelia), Diop (Espanyol/Senegal), Abdennour (Valencía/Túnez), Fajr (Deportivo/Marruecos), Angban (Granada/Costa de Marfil), Carcela (Granada/Marruecos) and En Nesyri (Málaga/Marruecos).
As for LaLiga 1|2|3, those selected are Madinda (Nástic/Gabón), Zongo (Almería/Burkina Faso), Ondoa (Sevilla B/Camerún), Djetei (Nástic/Camerún), Bijimine (Córdoba/RD Congo), Munir (Numancia/Marruecos) and Bono (Girona/Marruecos). Also, goalkeeper Papa Mbaye, del Orellana Agua Dulce will defend his native Guinea Bissau's shirt.
In the next couple of days, the teams will start to meet as they prepare for the competition. Bakambu has already left Villarreal, Carcela, En Nesyri and Fajr with Morocco and Abdennour has joined Tunisia. There are also some exceptions with the likes of Senagalese midfielder Papakouli Diop, who will ask to play with Español before he leaves. A player could leave for as long as a month depending on how far his country makes it in the cup.