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Thomas Tuchel has already been shaken by the news that he could be without Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech for one month next season. However, another blow awaits the Blues head coach.
In early 2022 the Africa Cup of Nations takes place and after Morocco sealed their place in the finals, it means Tuchel will lose Ziyech. The £33.4m signing from Ajax last summer played a starring role in Morocco’s successful qualification campaign. The tournament in Cameroon will be staged over most of January and into February in 2022, with the dates still to be confirmed.
The FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 group phase has been made and Morocco are one of the nine highest-ranked teams, including host country Qatar, who will be joined by the seven winners from the qualifying stage in the final tournament.
The draw is as follows:
Group A: Qatar, Iraq, Winner of Oman v. Somalia and Winner of Bahrain v. Kuwait
Group B: Tunisia, UAE, Syria and Winner of Mauritania v. Yemen
Group C:Morocco , Saudi Arabia, Winner of Jordan v. South Sudan and Winner of Palestine v. Comoros
Group D: Algeria, Egypt, Winner of Lebanon v. Djibouti and Winner of Libya v. Sudan
The tournament will take place during a similar timeslot to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. As Morocco’s group phase games take place on December 1, 4, and 7 it means Tuchel is set to be without Ziyech for at least a week.