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QPR trio set for AFCON adventure

SENY Dieng, Ilias Chair and Ossie Kakay will be looking forward to representing their countries in the African Cup of Nations tournament this month.

Here’s all you need to know!

The 24 nations are divided into six groups of four nations each. At the conclusion of the group stages, the top two teams in each group based on points (and tiebreakers, if necessary) advance to the knockouts.

The competition got underway in Cameroon on Sunday afternoon when the host nation entertained Burkina Faso in the curtain-raiser.

Dieng’s Senegal are one of the favourites to go all the way and are certainly favourites to win Group B, which sees them take on Zimbabwe, Guinea and Malawi. 

Edouard Mendy was due to start between the sticks for Senegal. However, the Chelsea No.1 has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning Dieng will surely feature for the 2019 finalists when they take on Zimbabwe on Monday. 

The match at Kouekong Stadium kicks off at 1pm (all times listed are GMT).

Next up for Senegal is Guinea (Friday, 1pm) before their final group match with Malawi (Tuesday 18th January, 4pm).

Chair’s Morocco are in Group C with Comoros, Gabon and Ghana. Like Dieng, Chair is expected to progress with his nation to the knockout stages.

The Atlas Lions entertain Ghana in their opening match on Monday at Stade Omnisport Ahmadou Ahidjo, kicking off at 4pm.

Morocco play Comoros on Friday at 4pm before concluding their Group C fixtures when they take on Gabon on Tuesday 18th January at 7pm.

Kakay’s Sierra Leone have a tough task to progress beyond the initial stages, finding themselves joined in Group E by Algeria, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea.

They kick off their campaign against 2019 winners Algeria on Tuesday at 1pm.

The Leone Stars take on Ivory Coast on Sunday 16th January at 4pm and entertain Equatorial Guinea on Thursday 20th January at 4pm.

What does this mean for QPR?

Dieng, Chair and Kakay will miss Rangers’ upcoming Championship fixture with West Brom. The group stages end on the Thursday before our clash with Coventry.

Should their nations reach the knockout phase, the players will be unavailable for that match with the Sky Blues as well as the visit of Swansea.

If the nations get through to the quarter-finals, any QPR players involved will be out for our home game with Reading.

Should Senegal, Morocco or Sierra Leone reach the semi-finals, the QPR contingent would be unavailable for our FA Cup fourth-round tie on the weekend of February 5th.

The AFCON final and third/fourth place play-off is on February 6th.

Rangers' next game after that is our home fixture with Middlesbrough on Wednesday 9th February.

While we would love to have them available for our Championship and FA Cup fixtures, we are proud to see three QPR players representing their countries in the African Cup of Nations tournament.

We wish Seny, Ilias and Ossie the best of luck over the coming weeks.