Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the French Marseille striker, entered into a political controversy hours before the decisive match that his country lost to Mauritania, in the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Spanish newspaper “Sport”, citing its French counterpart, “L’Equipe”, reported that Aubameyang expressed his unlimited support for the ousted president, Ali Bongo, days after General Brice Oligi Nguema – who overthrew the president on August 30 – was sworn in – last Monday. – President of Gabon for a “transitional period,” the duration of which was not specified, with a promise to “return power to civilians,” through “credible elections.”
The son of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Ali Bongo, just turned over a coup d’état, a fortement irrité l’opinion publique. https://t.co/ud1rXZYKKG pic.twitter.com/HNEZDaXzFf
— L’ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) September 9, 2023
The newspaper said, “The prominent player has become at the heart of the political controversy that the country is experiencing, at a critical and sensitive time for Gabon,” adding that his decision “caused a state of tension and division within the ranks of the national team.”
This was reflected in the team’s performance, which lost – today, Saturday – to Mauritania 1-2, in the decisive confrontation that was held for the sixth round of the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers for Group Ten.
The Gabon national team needed a win or a draw at the very least in order to reach the finals, but the “Al Mourabitounes” team snatched the qualification ticket from the tenth group, and “Sport” believes that this result will have “negative” repercussions on Aubameyang’s reputation and his international career.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo took the lead in Group 10 with 12 points, after winning the last match against Sudan, which is at the bottom of the standings, to advance, along with Mauritania, which is in second place (10), to the finals of the African Cup of Nations, while Gabon settled in third place with 7 points.
Aubameyang returned to the Gabon national team squad against the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 18 (0-2), and participated in the full match, then played the decisive match against Mauritania in full as well.
Aubameyang has been absent from the Gabon national team since January 4, 2022, when he played a friendly international match against Mauritania, which ended in a positive 1-1 draw, and he was the scorer of his country’s goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has made himself available for Gabon in international football again after meeting the country’s president. pic.twitter.com/FptumsBTxc
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) May 17, 2023
Bongo ruled Gabon for 14 years, and Aubameyang always appeared alongside him during sporting and national occasions and events, and received him more than once at the Republican Palace in the capital, Libreville.