AFCON NEWS: Gabon’s pre-Afcon gets rougher as CAF threatens
Gabon in trouble for circumventing competition rules
Gabon’s rough Africa Cup of Nations preparation hit a new high on Thursday with Caf’s Disciplinary Committee now threatening sanctions.
Arriving in Yaounde, the Gabonese went for Star Land Hotel instead of ascribed La Falaise, describing the latter substandard.
According to Caf’s query, the move is blatant contravention of competition rules, undermining security, logistics and technical measures taken since August 2021.
“Our members contested La Falaise Hotel provided by Caf since it does not possess the commodities needed by top athletes,” explains a team statement.
After thorough inspections, “Star Land has been specially reserved for the national team of Gabon throughout its stay in the competition.”
However, part of its delegation (media team from Dubai), the statement says, will lodge at La Falaise.
Cameroon has lined up 37 hotels for the 33rd Afcon but Star Land is not among the twelve (12) accredited for neither group A (Olembe) nor group C teams (Ahmadou Ahidjo).
Bonus and misconduct problems rocked the team upon departure from UAE camp. Backed by their country’s players’ welfare syndicate, The Panthers refused to board a UAE airbus to Cameroon, demanding upfront payment of bonuses.
Reports confirmed they pocketed individual sums ($26,000, an amount we have not verified) before leaving.
Faced with sanctions from main competition organisers Caf, Gabon are also grappling with Covid-19 cases.
Two players, Mario Lemina, skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and deputy coach Anicet Yala have tested positive for the virus.
Aaron Boupendza had missed the two friendlies with Burkina Faso (0-3) and Mauritania (1-1) due to Covid-19.
The Panthers play their first match on Monday against Comoros at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in political capital Yaounde.
Gambia arrives for maiden Afcon
Scorpions of Gambia have gotten about $1.7m donation from the government ahead of their debut in the Africa Cup of Nations. The donation was announced by youth and sport minister Bakary Badjie at the farewell dinner by the President Adama Barrow on Thursday.
Gambia arrived Cameroon’s economic capital Douala later on Thursday to continue to Limbe. They will compete with Tunisia, Mali and Mauritania. Their first match is scheduled on Wednesday 12 January against Mauritania, who arrive today having rounded off preparations in UAE.
Bertrand Traoré joins Burkina Faso
Coach Kamou Malo’s Burkina Faso is almost complete with the arrival of captain and maskman Bertrand Traoré and assistant coach Firmin Sanon.
The 26-year-old Aston Villa striker joined the squad on Thursday and was part of their second training session at the Olembe training ground ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
There is no gainsaying that gaffer Kamou Malo is building his squad this man, challenged to truly to set his own record. Yes! Traoré knows all eyes are on him to beat the legacies of Jonathan Pitroipa and Moumouni Dagano.
Meanwhile defender Issoufou Dayo, midfielder Dramane Nikiema and goalkeeper Kilian Nikiema left Doha yesterday to join this team that has shoulder’s Hercules’ task against a robust host – Cameroon.
Guinea leaves Rwanda upbeat
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita scored in Guinea’s two nil victory over Rwanda on Thursday in Kigali. A much-needed revenge and morale booster after the Syli Nationale fell three zero to the Amavubi in the first leg.
The Guineans are expected in Cameroon (Bafoussam) on Friday to add up to group B’s Senegal, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Guinea versus Mali is the second encounter at Kouekong on Monday 10 January.