The Gabon football team was made to sleep on the floor of Banjul airport by the airport authorities. The incident happened ahead of their Africa Cup o
The Gabon football team was made to sleep on the floor of Banjul airport by the airport authorities. The incident happened ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Gambia. Expressing their plight on social media, Aubameyang accused the authorities of taking the Gabon squad as a hostage. The Arsenal captain along with his teammates was held at the airport till six in the morning. It is being reported that they were held for almost 6 hours. Their passports were taken away and were allowed to leave the premises only after the government’s intervention.
According to the airport authorities, the delegation was held back due to some administrative problems. No exact reason was given to the team for not allowing them to exit the airport.
The 31-year-old detailed the whole episode over various social media platforms and called for the Confederation of African Football to act which sparked an investigation by African football’s governing body. He had also posted pictures of his teammates lying on the airport floor along with many tweets over Twitter. Even during the prolonged stay, the squad kept their spirits high by playing and laughing around despite such an ordeal. The delegation was held for almost 6-8 hours before allowing them to leave and board their bus for the hotel.
An emergency video call was held between the two countries by CAF to make sure that the two countries were on the same page regarding this incident.
Aubameyang said over Instagram that tricks like this incident won’t work on them and they won’t be demotivated. Many fans came forward over social media, accusing the Gambia of deploying cheap tricks to gain an upper hand while many termed this incident despicable. Not long after the pictures surfaced online, Twitter got filled with tweets supporting the Gabon football team and applauding their fighting spirit even under such stressful conditions. Gambia was even accused of employing intimidation tactics under the veil of the COVID19 restrictions to give their team an advantage in the upcoming vital match.
Gabon captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was asked by Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta to take this sleeping incident as an experience. According to Arteta, such unpredictable incidents are bound to make the players mentally strong and prepared for upcoming unknown situations in the future. He continued saying that it’s been a long time since Auba had slept on the floor so now when he hits the bed, he should be grateful for what he has. Arteta also said that he hoped for such incidents to never repeat in the future as the player requires ample rest before hitting the ground. Gabon Coach Patrice Neveu was scared out of his wits over the unpleasant reception of the team as Aubameyang’s future invitation to the national team might be blocked because of this incident.
With 2-1, Gabon lost the match to the Gambia and dropped to second place while the Group D top spot was claimed by their hosts.