AFCON 2022: Aubameyang Wonders if His Gabon Team is ‘taken hostage’ by Gambia

ARSENAL captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang called on the African football authorities to “take responsibility” after the Gabon team was held at an airport in Gambia for hours overnight.

Aubameyang and his team-mates were kept at the airport from 11:30pm until the early hours of the morning, with the team not boarding their bus until almost 6am on Monday.

Gabon meet Gambia in an African Cup of Nations qualification match at 4pm on Monday afternoon and pictures from the airport showed many of their players sleeping on the floor ahead of the fixture.

Aubameyang detailed the delays in a series of posts on social media, saying it “looks like we are back in the 90s” and asking if the team was being kept as “hostages” at the airport.


“It will not demotivate us but people need to know,” said Aubameyang. “And especially that the CAF [Confederation of African Football] take these responsibilities. [It is] 2020 and we want Africa to grow – that’s not how we’re going to get there!”

In another message to CAF, Aubameyang said: “Just want to know why Gambia keep our passports for hours and they keep us at the airport are we hostage or what? Are you gonna close your eyes?

In a final post at 6am on Monday morning, Aubameyang said the team was “finally” on the bus and added: “Thanks for the extra motivation”.

Aubameyang’s side would be overtaken at the top of their qualification group if they lose to Gambia on Monday afternoon.

The Arsenal striker scored their winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Gambia in Franceville last week.

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