Gabon admits blunder over Aubameyang announcement

Gabon’s Football Federation (Fegafoot) has been forced to admit it named Pierre Francois Aubameyang as joint coach of the national team without a deal being finalised.

On Thursday, Fegafoot announced that Aubameyang and another former international, Daniel Cousin, would be coaching the Panthers. But his son, Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick, took to social media to condemn the announcement saying his father was unwell and had not agreed to take the job.

However, the football authority said it made the appointment public in good faith following positive discussions with Aubameyang as well as pressure from the Ministry of Sports to have a new manager in place by Wednesday.

“In the wake of a positive telephone interview with Pierre Aubameyang, the minister of youth and Sports in response to the emergency instructed Fegafoot to make the announcement of the coaching staff official by Wednesday night.

“In an effort to avoid a problem with the ministry, Fegafoot had to make this coaching appointment public, but not without having informed the coaches concerned. “Our approach was influenced by the good faith we have had with Daniel cousin and the usual desire expressed by Pierre Aubameyang to manage the national team.

“Following the official reaction of Mr Aubameyang, Fegafoot believes this situation could have been avoided in the light of several interested local coaches ready to serve the nation.”

The on-off love affair between Gabon’s football governing body and its captain came to the fore in this latest saga involving his father. Aubameyang, who has 20 goals in 50 caps for his country, has often been involved in run-ins with Fegafoot officials and points to the latest move as further proof of why he is not always keen to honour international call-ups.

“Anyway the day the federation stops being amateurish maybe the national team will be able to progress and once again earn some good results,” he posted.

“You ask yourselves why I have problems with you? Why I don’t want to come and play for the national team? Well you have just shown why once more.”

Gabon are struggling in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign and the 1-1 draw with Burundi earlier this month leaves the Panthers third in Group C, having lost the opening tie 2-1 away in Mali.

As joint-hosts Gabon reached the quarter-finals of the 2012 Nations Cup, but failed to get past the group stage of the tournament on home soil in 2017.