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Three Eagles repping the red and blue during the AFCON

18 June 2019

Friday night will see hosts Egypt kick-off the 2019 African Cup of Nations tournament against Zimbabwe, with this year's competition being the first of its kind to include 24 teams and to take place in the summer, after requests were made by several nations for AFCON to be moved to allow their players to rest after Ramadan.

The Eagles will have three representatives at the competition in Egypt, with Wilfried Zaha getting the call up for Ivory Coast, Cheikhou Kouyaté making the Senegalese final 23-man squad and on-loan Jordan Ayew, who is contracted to the club until the end of June, earning a spot with Ghana.

Wilfried Zaha, Ivory Coast

International record: 11 appearances / 3 goals

2017 AFCON: Les Éléphants went into the last tournament as defending champions, however, despite Zaha starting all three games the Ivorians exited the tournament in the group stages, meaning they will be looking to show last time was just a blip rather than a decline.

2019 Group D: Palace's talisman and his team-mates will be facing up against South Africa for their opener on the 24th June. Next up will be Morocco (28th June) and Zaha & co will be looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat in the World Cup Qualifier back in 2017 against the Atlas Lions. Namibia on Monday 1st July close out the group games for the Ivory Coast.

Cheikhou Kouyaté, Senegal

International record: 52 appearances / 2 goals

2017 AFCON: A quarter-final exit last time around for our marauder in midfield, with the Senegalese going out on penalties to Cameroon. Kouyaté didn't take a penalty, with the midfielder limping off in the 18th minute of extra-time, with a bandage on his head and wrist; a classic blood and thunder display from Cheikhou.

2019 Group C: Senegal will be favourites to qualify from their group facing Tanzania (Sunday 23rd) , Kenya (Monday 1st July) and Algeria (Thursday 27th).

Jordan Ayew, Ghana

International record: 53 appearances / 14 goals

2017 AFCON: When Ayew joined the club, he and Kouyaté must have had a comment or two on Cameroon, with the Lions Indomptables knocking out Ayew's Ghana in the semi-final, having already dismissed Kouyaté's Senegal in the round before. Ayew played in every game for Avram Grant's side, which resulted in a fourth place finish after losing the third-place playoff 1-0 to Burkina Faso.

2019 Group F: The Black Stars begin their quest to win their first AFCON tournament since 1982 - and have lost in the final three times since. They face Benin (Tuesday 25th), before looking to banish the demons of last season's semi-final against Cameroon (Saturday 29th), and close their group games against Guinea-Bissau (Tuesday 2nd).

For all UK-based Palace fans, you can see how the lads get on out in Egypt with Eurosport showing all AFCON games live.

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