Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the Gabon national team faced delays of over six hours overnight in an airport waiting room before their match today.

Aubameyang on Instagram
Aubameyang on Instagram

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the rest of the Gabon squad arrived in Gambia at 11pm on Sunday night, hoping to enter the country without any delays as they prepared for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at 4pm the next day.

However, they all spent the next six hours in a waiting room. Immigration officials confiscated their passports for hours despite the squad providing COVID-19 test results within the correct 48-hour period.

Aubameyang tweeted out: “It will not demotivate us but people need to know, especially so that CAF (Confederation of African Football) take responsibility. 2020 and we want Africa to grow, this is not how we’re going to get there!”

Finally, at almost 6am, Aubameyang confirmed they were on the team bus. He added on Instagram: “Thanks for the extra motivation”.

Many of the players had to sleep on the floor, and Aubameyang was seemingly awake for the majority of the overnight wait. It’s certainly going to impact their ability to play their best in the Gambia qualifier later today.

Aubameyang scored the winning goal as Gabon beat Gambia 2-1 in the reverse fixture last week.

Whether the striker can do the same this time, on a few hours of sleep, is doubtful. But I hope he does and compounds the embarrassment for those causing the delays.