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Patrick Vieira cannot see why Crystal Palace duo Cheikhou Kouyate and Wilfried Zaha will not be going to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The tournament, which is being held in Cameroon and begins on January 9, was delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although Zaha, 29, was available for selection again after serving his suspension for the red card he received in the 3-0 loss at Spurs on Boxing Day, Palace’s talisman was left out of the squad with speculation he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Kouyate, 32, has made 17 appearances in the Premier League this season under Vieira and completed 90 minutes against Norwich last time out, but he was also missing from the matchday squad – again the suggestion being that he had also contracted the virus.

Zaha has been called up to represent the Ivory Coast, and Kouyate has been selected for Senegal to play alongside fellow Premier League stars Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy.

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Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Millwall would be the first fixture that Zaha and Kouyate would miss.

“Wilf wasn’t involved today, and as a football club, we won’t make any kind of comment regarding the Covid situation,” said Vieira on Zaha’s absence following the 3-2 home defeat to West Ham United.

When asked if the same applied to Kouyate, who has captained Senegal in the past, Vieira added: “It’s the same, yes.”

When it was put to him whether the pair would be going to the Africa Cup of Nations, Vieira said: “I don’t know why they shouldn’t go.”

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