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AFCON: Aubameyang set for Arsenal return amid COVID concern


Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return to Arsenal for medical tests after cardiac lesions were found in tests conducted in Cameroon after he was positive for COVID-19, the Gabonese Football Federation (FEGAFOOT) said.

Aubameyang and Gabon teammate Mario Lemina, who plays for Nice, are being sent back from the Africa Cup of Nations to their respective clubs in an effort to clear up concerns.

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The pair had been released from quarantine last week but were then stopped from playing in Friday’s game against Ghana after doctors said the cardiac lesions were detected in post-COVID medical examinations.

They also did not train on Sunday and Monday as they awaited results of further examinations but FEGAFOOT has now said they will go back to Europe for further examination.

A statement on Monday read: “The Gabonese Football Federation have decided to put the players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina back at the disposition of their clubs in order for them to follow more in-depth exams.”

Gabon coach Patrice Neveu told ESPN: “Seeing the medical worries that Pierre-Emerick and Mario have encountered, we’ve taken the decision with the doctors and the federation to allow them to go back to their clubs.”

The pair tested positive on arrival with their team for the tournament and missed their country’s opening two games. It is not clear if they might return for next week’s knockout stage.

Later on Monday, Aubameyang tweeted: “We already have problems that are difficult to resolve and then there are rumours on top of that. Anyway, we have health to take care of before anything.

“I won’t return to these false rumours and with all my heart, I wish that our team goes as far as possible [in the tournament].”

Gabon also said they had suffered fresh infections, including winger Denis Bouanga, substitute goalkeeper Noubi Fotso, left-back David Sambissa, midfielder Serge Ngouali and striker Ulrick Eneme Ella. They are all now isolating.

Bouanga, Eneme Ella and Ngouali all featured in the 1-1 draw with Ghana in Yaounde, which lifted Gabon to four points and likely qualification for the round of 16.

But defenders Gilchrist Nguema, Sidney Obissa and Lloyd Palun plus forwards Axel Meye and Kevin Mayi have returned without concerns after COVID-19 isolation and can play on Tuesday against Morocco in Gabon’s last Group C game in Yaounde.

Information from ESPN’s Ed Dove was also included in this report.





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