Johannesburg: The sight of Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his Gabon teammates sleeping on an airport floor marred an otherwise successful two rounds of Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.
Gambian authorities would not allow the visiting Gabonese to leave the terminal because they said the delegation had not complied with conditions aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) official Omar Sey told reporters in Banjul that the Gabonese did not produce Covid-19 test results, while insisting they had been performed before leaving Libreville.
The Gabonese then had to hand over passports and a stand-off ensued with the visiting players forced to sleep on the floor for almost six hours from their midnight arrival before going to their hotel.
CAF responded to the incident by ordering an investigation amid criticism from former African Footballer of the Year Aubameyang. “Nice job CAF, it is as if we are back in the 1990s. It is 2020 and we want Africa to grow, but this is not how we will get there,” he tweeted.
Gabon lost 2-1 to the Gambia, leaving the teams sharing the Group D leadership, one point ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo with two rounds remaining.
Although prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny tested positive for Covid-19, the widespread disruption of the 48-match schedule that many feared did not materialise.