Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba will be out for at least three months with a knee injury, ruling him out of Zimbabwe’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign next month.
The Zimbabwe international midfielder has been in excellent form for Aston Villa over the past month and was duly voted the club’s Player of the Month for November.
The 27-year-old, who was forced off during Villa’s 1-0 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday, had an operation on the injury this week.
“He’s had successful surgery,” Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard told the club website
“The surgeon is really happy with how it’s gone and now he’ll start his recovery process and recovery plan.”
“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.”
You'll come back stronger, @Nakamba_11. 💪
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 17, 2021
Nakamba joined the Premier League club from Club Bruges in August 2019 and has made 14 appearances in all competitions this season.
His injury is another blow to Zimbabwe ahead of the Cup of Nations, which begins in Cameroon on 9 January, after Brendan Galloway of League One club Plymouth Argyle suffered a dislocated kneecap last month.
Wigan Athletic captain Tendayi Darikwa has reportedly withdrawn from the squad citing family reasons while South Africa-based star Khama Billiat recently announced his retirement from international football.
The Warriors, who have never progressed past the group stage at the tournament, have been drawn in Group B with Senegal, Guinea and Malawi.
Meanwhile former Villa striker Agbonlahor thinks Nakamba will be a big miss for Gerrard’s side.
“It’s a massive blow,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider.
“Steven Gerrard has played him a lot since he’s come in and he’s been outstanding, doing a great role.
“But this is football. It gives someone else a chance to step in. Can someone else come in and take the chance?
“Yes, it’s bad news but this is why you build a squad. Other players have got to step in.”