Why Gabonese Duo Aubameyang and Lemina Resigned from Internationals
OGC Nice midfielder Mario Lemina and Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have officially parted ways with the senior men’s national team of Gabon for good.
When both players left the recent African Cup in Cameroon prematurely, there were signs of bigger problems, reason why their resignation isn’t surprising to some.
Lemina and Aubameyang’s woes started with Covid-19 infections, culminating in them missing Gabon’s AFCON opener with Comoros, and later on Ghana.
The continent expected to see the duo against Morocco on 18 January, but things went from bad to worse.
The duo was charged for misconduct after they “returned to the team’s hotel deeply drunk around 5am in the company of girls,” journalist Nuhu Adams wrote.
Hereafter, coach Patrice Neveu released them from camp. Lemina was quick to post his resignation on Instagram before deleting it afterwards.
“I’m not even going to feed the lies that seek to harm me by wanting to solve the problems around this selection too much, it is you who exposes yourself,” Lemina had said on social media.
“There is nothing more to do. I put an end to it all,” he added.
On Thursday 19 May, 2022, Frenchman Neveu unveiled his squad ahead of double AFCON 2023 qualifiers, first with DRC in Kinshasa on 4 June, and Mauritania four days later.
The absence of both players from the list confirms they have not ‘forgiven’ the Neveu-led staff that had failed to make it past 8th finals in Cameroon.
Neveu made a tour to Europe to create a rapport with Gabonese topflight players in respective championships, in view of the aforementioned qualifiers.
30 players have been called up, including newcomers Jacques Ekomie and Alan Domarcolino. Alain Miyogho, Yohan Watcher and Aaron Appindagoye make their return. The rest are those who crossed the group stages of AFCON 2021 before slipping to Burkina Faso at knockouts.
The list comprises three goalkeepers, seven midfielders and seven strikers. There are10 defenders and three players on the waiting list.
Aged 32, Aubameyang calls time on his international career after 13 years.
Part of his resignation letter thanked the Gabonese people, his coaches, teammates and his father, who also played for Gabon in the 1980s and 90s.
The former Arsenal player won 72 caps for Gabon and is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 30 goals. With Aubameyang at the heart of the team, Gabon reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 African Cup of Nations to equal its best performance in international soccer.
Born on 1 September 1993 in Libreville, Mario Lemina is capped 23 times with the Panthers and netted three goals. Prior to taking up full Gabonese nationality, he was U-20 World Cup winner with France in 2013.