Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his Gabon teammates were forced to spend the night sleeping on the airport floor ahead of their vital Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Gambia.
Aubameyang used social media to highlight their plight after arriving at Banjul airport on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s Group D clash in the Gambian capital.
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The Gabon delegation were told they were not allowed to leave the airport because of an administrative problem and were forced to sleep on the floor before being allowed to leave in the morning after government intervention.
[email protected] and his Gabon teammates were stuck at the airport in Gambia for over six hours after landing for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
They eventually left at 6am, just 10 hours before kick off ? pic.twitter.com/0ZJpulM0qQ
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No reason was given for not allowing the team to exit the airport and head to their hotel after arrival. Gabon’s federation posted pictures of the incident on its Facebook page but without any comment.
Aubameyang posted on Twitter in a reference to previous foibles blamed on the Confederation of African Football: “Nice job CAF, it’s as if we were back in the 1990s.
“This will not demotivate us but people need to know and CAF need to take responsibility,” he added later. “[It is] 2020 and we want Africa to grow but this is not how we will get there.”
Gabon are top of the group standings, three points ahead of Gambia, who are seeking to reach the Nations Cup finals for the first time.
Before the match, Aubameyang said that Gabon were even more determined to get a result after sleeping at the airport.
“I know my team, they ready like never before,” the Arsenal striker wrote on Twitter on Monday. “And me they did a misake letting me sleep for couple hours. Today is the day!!!
“No matter the result for me my team won already when I see the faces this morning everyone is hungry hungry about football.”
The top two teams in the group — which also includes Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo — advance to the finals in Cameroon in early 2022.