The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has ruled that the African Cup of Nation qualifiers between The Gambia’s scorpion and Gabon will proceed in Banjul on Monday evening. The CAF match commissioner for the game told The Chronicle that the decision means that Gabon players are no longer going to be subjected to COVID-19 testing because their testing certificates which were issued in their home country prior to coming remain valid.
The controversy ensued following the Gabonese and Arsenal captain Pierre Emeric-Aubameyang shared photos of the squad lying flat on the airport floors at Banjul International Airport following their arrival early Monday morning. Aubameyang described it as being ‘hostage’ in Gambia’s airport for six hours without being let go of their hotel. He took it that the Gambia’s action was meant to discourage them when he tweeted saying they will not be discouraged.
But the Gambia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports has released a statement later to state that the Gabonese players had refused to be tested as well as arriving later than the earlier communicated time as being the causes of their airport nightmare.
The situation developed further in the day following an emergency meeting at the Gambia Football Federation offices amongst key stakeholders. After the discussions, Omar Sey, who’s the CAF’s match commissioner, told The Chronicle that: “Now, the match is going to take place and they’ve validated the results that were done in Gabon. They [players] are not going to be tested because CAF have authorized the game to go on and they have validated that the test that was done in Gabon is within the 48 hours period and is valid for now.”
Sey disclosed that the continental football authority is investigating the reasons that led to the delay at the airport following accusation and counteraccusation between the arriving Gabon team and The Gambia’s health authorities at the entry point. He said the Gabonese team is insisting that they’ve given their documents to the health authorities, to which the health authorities denied. He said the authorities say the players were not cooperating with them. According to him, any party found wanting will be held responsible by CAF.