Bilic Braced For Afcon Departures

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is bracing himself up for a tough early 2017 which will see him lose about four players, including Ghana’s Andre Ayew, to the Africa Cup of Nations holding between January 14 and February 5 in Gabon.

Algeria playmaker Sofiane Feghouli and Senegal duo Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho are the other West Ham stars that could play at the Afcon, although Sakho’s recent injury predicaments have reduced his chances.

“In September, October and November, we knew that this time was going to come,” Bilic told his club’s official website.

“We need to concentrate on these three games [against Swansea City, Leicester City and Manchester United] and then after Manchester United at home [on 2 January], they will go and represent their countries.

“It is not ideal, of course, but it is the case for us. Three or four of them will go.

“When that time comes though, it is the transfer window.

“We will lose players but so will other clubs in the Premier League.”

West Ham’s Afcon contingent is likely to miss up to five league games, including February 2’s welcome of Manchester City.

The Hammers, who currently sit 13th on the league log after matchday 17, also have an FA Cup fixture with the Citizens on January 6.

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