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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal star Aubameyang may not play in Afcon after being left out of Gabon squad due to suspected heart problem

1:25 PM IST 17/01/22
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Gabon Guinea-Bissau 14012017
The striker recently tested positive for Covid-19 in the build-up to the Africa Cup of Nations

Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left out of Gabon's squad to face Ghana on Friday as he continues to recover from coronavirus, with sources in the country's FA telling GOAL that he may not play in the tournament because of the issue.

Scans were done by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), with two other Gabon stars, Axel Meye and Mario Lemina, also removed from the squad for the same reason.

Aubameyang tested positive for Covid-19 in the run-up to the Africa Cup of Nations but had recently returned to training ahead of Friday night's game.

What was said?

Medical tests conducted by Gabon continue to reveal traces of coronavirus in the player’s system, sources within the camp have told GOAL.

The Arsenal striker has missed the Panthers’ opening two matches at the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19 upon his arrival at Yaounde airport on January 6.

"According to the CAF medical commission, the players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Axel Meye and Mario Lemina, who just returned from Covid, cannot take part in this match," the Gabon Football Federation said in a statement.

"The examinations showed cardiac lesions. CAF did not want to take any risks."

However, the cardiac tests which Aubameyang underwent - mandatory for all Afcon players who return to action following a coronavirus diagnosis - revealed traces of Covid still in Aubameyang’s system, and not the "cardiac lesions’" that were announced on Friday.

Will Aubameyang feature in Afcon?

After the Ghana match, head coach Patrice Neveu - who himself has only recently recovered from coronavirus - said Aubameyang would be subjected to further tests.

“For the moment, nothing has changed,” a source within the Gabon camp then clarified to GOAL on Sunday. “They will do another test on him tomorrow.”

Gabon had been hesitant to follow doctors’ advice and prevent the striker from playing aainst Ghana at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, with Aubameyang himself initially refusing to accept the advice of doctors.

The Arsenal man was eventually talked around by his father, and it’s understood that Gabon are unwilling to risk the striker until he successfully passes the cardiac tests that produced problematic results ahead of the Ghana showdown.

The big picture

Aubameyang was hoping to start a match for the first time since December 2, with the striker excluded from the Arsenal squad since being left out for breaking team rules.

The Gabon star also recently battled Covid-19, which saw him miss the team's Afcon opener against Comoros.

Gabon went on to win that match 1-0 thanks to a goal from Aaron Boupendza, before earning a late 1-1 draw with Ghana on Friday night after Aubameyang was blocked from playing by CAF.

Gabon meet Morocco in their final Group C clash on Tuesday looking to secure progression to the knockout stage for the first time since 2012.

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