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African players off limits to Sunderland boss Bruce

The forthcoming African Cup of Nations has alerted Sunderland boss Steve Bruce to the problems of signing African player's this summer. Star striker Asamoah Gyan will be part of the Ghana squad on course to qualify for the tournament, which runs from 21st January until 12th February.

Stephane Sessegnon and Ahmed Elmohamady would normally expect to be involved for Benin and Egypt, respectively, but both nations are struggling to reach the finals of the event which comes around every two years.

And Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: "When you are choosing players, you never consider their nationality, only the question of whether they're good enough and that's still the case with us.

"But certainly, as things stand, we would be reluctant to sign players from African nations because, looking ahead to next season, it would be a real worry.

"The competition also comes at a time - end of January, beginning of February - where it's a really testing time for your squad anyway.

"If we had the same injury crisis next year as this year and then lost half-a-dozen players to Africa for three weeks, we really would be goosed!

"I'm aware of the situation and it's something we've addressed - you don't want to lose a load of players at one fell swoop."

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Dave Williams

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