2021 AFCON Qualifier: CAF To Take Disciplinary Action On Maltreatment Of Gabon By Gambia
By Amaechi Agbo
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Monday called an emergency video conference meeting with representatives of the Gabonese and Gambian football federations.
The essence of the meeting was to rule on the incident which occurred on Sunday at the Banjul airport in The Gambia.
Gabon’s national team had arrived on Sunday for a return leg game against The Gambia in the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers which held on Monday
But the team was held up for over six hours before being allowed to enter the Gambian territory.
“During the call, the Secretary General of CAF clearly deplored this unfortunate situation before informing the two parties of his decision to inform the disciplinary commission.
“This is in order to examine the causes of this incident, so as to establish the responsibilities and apply the consequent sanctions.
“The Secretary General of CAF welcomed the state of mind of the two parties, who held exchanges which were respectful and courteous,” Alexandre Siewe, CAF Communication Director, said in a statement on Monday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his Gabon teammates were forced to spend the night sleeping on the airport floor ahead of their vital 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Gambia.
Aubameyang used social media to highlight their plight after arriving at Banjul airport on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s Group D clash in the Gambian capital.
The Gabon delegation were told they were not allowed to leave the airport because of an administrative problem.
They were forced to sleep on the floor before being allowed to leave in the morning after government intervention.
No reason was given for not allowing the team to exit the airport and head to their hotel after arrival.
Even by previous standards of gamesmanship in African football, this was unusual.
Gabon’s football federation posted pictures of the incident on its Facebook page but without any comment.
“Nice job CAF, it’s as if we were back in the 1990s,” Aubameyang posted on Twitter in a reference to previous foibles blamed on the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
“This will not demotivate us, but people need to know and CAF need to take responsibility.
“(It is) 2020 and we want Africa to grow, but this is not how we will get there,” the Arsenal striker added later.
The top two teams in the group —- which also includes Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) —- advance to the finals in Cameroon in early 2022.
Analysts believe the ill-treatment on Gabonese team was meant to win a psychological advantage as the match ended 2-1 in favour of the host who now top the group with superior goal difference as both countries have 7 points each from four matches.