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Gabon release Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after bout of Covid-19 causes heart lesions

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon. PIcture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon. PIcture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Published Jan 18, 2022

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Johannesburg - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Monday was released from the Gabon squad for the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, as scans revealed “heart lesions” after a bout with Covid-19.

Aubameyang tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Cameroon on January 6. The 32-year-old missed Gabon’s clashes against Comoros on January 10 and Ghana on January 14.

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Gabon play their final Group C game in Yaounde on Tuesday evening. Morocco currently top the group with six points, with Gabon second on four points.

Teammate Mario Lemina has also been removed from the squad as he was found to have the same medical concerns.

The Gabonese Football Federation (GFF) said in a statement: “The Gabonese Football Federation has decided to put the players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina at the disposal of their clubs to continue the in-depth examinations.”

Aubameyang hit the headlines last month when he was stripped of the captaincy of his English Premier League (EPL) club Arsenal.

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said it was a difficult, but correct, decision to strip Aubameyang of the captaincy on December 14.

The striker was dropped from the team to face Southampton on December 11 in an EPL clash, which Arsenal subsequently won 3-0 in London.

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It is believed that Aubameyang was given permission to travel abroad in the week prior, but he returned late which was a breach of Covid-19 restrictions.

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In March last year, Aubameyang missed an EPL match against Tottenham Hotspur because of a “breach of match protocol”.

The stripping of the captaincy means his future at the London club may be in serious jeopardy. Aubameyang joined Arsenal in 2018 and to date has made 128 appearances, and scored 68 goals.

IOL Sport

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