Injury blow for Zimbabwe as Nakamba ruled out of 2021 AFCON

Marvelous Nakamba of Aston Villa in action during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield on December 11, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)
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BIRMINGHAM, UK – Marvelous Nakamba has been ruled out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to take place in January-February.

The Zimbabwean midfielder underwent an operation that may keep him out for around 12 weeks, after sustaining a knee injury in Aston Villa’s 1-0 defeat to Liverpool last week.

“He’s had successful surgery. The surgeon is really happy with his operation and how it’s gone and now he’ll start his recovery process and recovery plan,” Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard said on Friday.

“He’s going to be missing for somewhere in the region of 12 weeks if it is a fantastic rehab or it could be up to 16 weeks.

“It will be somewhere in the middle of 12-16 weeks.”

Nakamba had become a constant presence in Aston Villa’s team since Gerrard’s arrival at Villa Park.

The 27-year-old played all five games under the new manager before the injury.

Zimbabwe will miss his services in midfield at the2021 AFCON, as they seek to improve on their 2019 performance.

The Warriors only managed a single point in that edition of the continental tournament, with all other three teams progressing into the knock-out stages.

For the 2021 AFCON, Zimbabwe are pooled alongside Senegal, Guinea and Malawi in Group B.

(With input from agencies)