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Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan suffering from malaria

The former Sunderland striker could miss Ghana's first match of the African Cup of Nations thanks to fighting a mild case of malaria.

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

One of the favorites for this year's African Cup of Nations could be without their captain and one of their top attackers after Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan was diagnosed with a "mild" strain of malaria.

Gyan was hospitalized on Saturday night after suffering severe flu-like symptoms before being diagnosed with the disease. According to the Mirror, he was released early Sunday as doctors felt they had caught the disease early enough to abate more severe symptoms.

The former Sunderland striker is considered to be a doubt for Ghana's match against Senegal on Monday, their first of their AFCON campaign. One of the regular favorites of the tournament, Ghana will have a lot of work to do just to get out of their group, with Algeria and South Africa rounding out arguably the most difficult AFCON group this year. They'll need Gyan healthy and firing in order to stand their best chance to make a deep run in this tournament, but even a mild case of malaria can leave a person depleted for quite some time.

Jordan Ayew is the Ghana attacker most likely to replace Gyan in the lineup if he can't play. The FC Lorient striker is the younger brother of Ghana's vice-captain Andre, and has scored six goals in Ligue 1 this season. Even if Jordan plays well, Ghana will need Andre and winger Christian Atsu to step up in a big way to help fill the void left by Gyan.