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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Caf block Aubameyang’s return vs Ghana

12:34 AM IST 15/01/22
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Gabon 2022
The Gabon striker has been unable to return to action for the Panthers in the Africa Cup of Nations after the continent’s governing body stepped in

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s wait to return to action will continue after the Gabon striker was barred from returning to action in the Panthers’ Africa Cup of Nations fixture against Ghana on Friday following an intervention from the Confederation of African Football.

Caf’s medical commission identified ‘cardiac lesions’ in the trio of Aubameyang, Axel Meye and Mario Lemina, all of whom missed their opening victory over Comoros after testing positive for coronavirus.

Gabon confirmed to GOAL on Thursday that Auba had returned a negative test and would take his place in the team for Friday’s Group C showdown with the Black Stars at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde, only for Caf to intervene.

“According to the Caf medical commission, the players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Axel Meye and Mario Lemina, barely out of Covid, cannot take part in the match,” read a statement on the Gabon Football Federation Twitter handle.

“The examinations have shown cardiac lesions, and Caf did not want to take any risks.”

Gabon assistant coach Anicet Yala told GOAL on Thursday that the Arsenal striker — who hasn’t played any football since December 6 — would play against the Black Stars after returning a negative Covid-19 test.

However, the Panthers’ plans have been thwarted by Caf’s medical commission.

There is also uncertainty about the status of Panthers coach Patrice Neveu, who was ruled out by Fegafoot on Thursday after going into isolation following a positive Covid test.

The French head coach led his team out at the Stade Ahidjo, however, and was seen arriving at the stadium in the team bus with his squad, with his mask lowered.

Aubameyang has struggled to leave his mark on the Nations Cup across four previous attempts, having fallen at the first hurdle in 2010, 2015 and 2017 (with Gabon as hosts).

In 2012, also on home soil, the Gunners frontman reached the quarter-finals, only to miss the decisive penalty in the shootout as Gabon fell against Mali.

Aubameyang was hoping to start a match for the first time since December 2, when he played 79 minutes in the Gunners’ 3-2 Premier League defeat by Manchester United in the days preceding his internal suspension for breaking club rules.