Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left out of Gabon’s squad for their second Africa Cup of Nations group game with Ghana after medics discovered he had post-coronavirus ‘heart lesions’.
The Arsenal forward missed his country’s win over Comoros on Monday after testing positive for Covid-19 – and while he returned to training earlier this week, medical staff noticed that he and two players had minor heart issues after their recoveries.
The Gabon FA revealed in a statement that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) ‘did not want to take risks’ with Aubameyang’s fitness, with his team-mates Mario Lemina and Axel Meye also missing the Ghana match for the same reason.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left out of Gabon’s squad for their AFCON clash with Ghana
Medical staff noticed that Aubameyang and two others had ‘heart lesions’ after getting Covid
A Gabon FA statement read: ‘Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Axel Meyé and Mario Lemina are barely out of Covid (isolation) and cannot take part in this match.
‘The (medical) examinations showed cardiac lesions. The CAF did not want to take any risks.’
According to The Athletic, Arsenal have been in contact with Gabon’s medical team about Aubameyang’s status and believe all is well with their former captain.
The striker is a key figure for Gabon having score 29 goals in 71 caps for his country, including three in six matches during 2021.
Aubameyang was expected to face his Gunners team-mate in Ghana’s Thomas Partey on Friday night, but now only the 28-year-old midfielder will line up in Cameroon for the contest.
Gabon picked Qatar-based striker Aaron Boupendza and Saint-Etienne forward Denis Bouanga as their attacking options for the Ghana match, with no sign of Aubameyang on the ten-man substitutes’ bench.
Gabon took on Ghana on Friday night looking to reach the AFCON knockout stages with a win
Gabon know that victory over Ghana will take them through to the knockout rounds of the tournament, while the Black Stars are looking to get off the mark for the tournament having lost their opening Group C encounter to Morocco this week.
But the Panthers, who Aubameyang captains, must do without coach Patrice Neveu, who has tested positive for coronavirus in the build-up to Friday’s game. Defender Lloyd Palun and striker Kevin Mayi are also out after returning positive tests, the Gabon federation said.
The exact source of the outbreak within the Gabon camp remains unclear but social media footage emerged of players socialising at their pre-tournament camp in Dubai before the Arsenal striker tested positive.
Aubameyang was filmed out partying with Gabon team-mate Lemina, formerly of Fulham and Southampton and now at Ligue 1 club Nice.
Aubameyang was filmed partying in Dubai with Gabon team-mate Mario Lemina last week
Aubameyang said he was feeling fine after a week of isolation in his room and posted two pictures of him in training to his Instagram account.
‘I got the opportunity to still be able to work in my room. I got a bike and made a circuit, trying to keep in shape as much as possible,’ he told his country’s federation Facebook page.
‘It’s not going to be easy, because it’s not the same as match rhythm or proper training but we’ll get it done.
‘We’re going to play a very difficult opponent who needs to win the game, so we’ll have to be serious like we were in the first game. I know we’ll have our chances.’
Source: Daily Mail