Thomas Tuchel to be handed another Hakim Ziyech

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Thomas Tuchel to be handed another Hakim Ziyech

Thomas Tuchel has already been rocked by the news that he could be without Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech for one month next season.

And another blow awaits the Blues head coach before a ball for the 2021/22 campaign has even been kicked.

In early 2022 the Africa Cup of Nations takes place and after Morocco sealed their passage to the finals in the last international break by drawing with Mauritiana and beating Burundi it means Tuchel will lose Ziyech.

The £33.4m signing from Ajax last summer played a starring role in Morocco’s successful qualification campaign, scoring three goals in the process and weighing in with four assists.

The competition, which was last won by Algeria, was due to be staged at the beginning of the year, however, it was forced to be pushed back a year due to the coronavirus crisis.

As a result, the tournament in Cameroon will be staged over most of January and into February in 2022, with the dates still to be confirmed.

The timing of the tournament, as expected, has been met by groans by a cluster of Premier League managers, with some of their key players poised to miss a large portion of the season.

In a further blow, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will join Ziyech in travelling to Cameroon for the tournament as Senegal were one of the first teams to book their place in the finals last November.

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

Given the tournament will take place later this year – during a similar timeslot to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, one would assume that Chelsea would have to release Ziyech if he is selected.

This is because the tournament is seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities exactly a year before Qatar hosts the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.

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.

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