Gabon’s forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group A football match between Gabon and Guinea-Bissau at the Stade de l’Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on January 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return to Gabon’s squad for their World Cup qualifier against Morocco in just over a week after missing their last two matches, he said yesterday.
The Borussia Dortmund marksman was a surprise absentee as Gabon lost 3-0 at home to Ivory Coast on September 2, but then three days later, upset them 2-1 away to keep alive hopes of a place at next year’s finals in Russia.
“I’d been cleared with the coach and the federation that it was not a good time for me to join the team. I was not in the right frame of mind because of all the transfer speculation but I’m back for the next game,” he told French television yesterday in a first admission that he had been set to depart the Bundesliga outfit before the season’s start.
The 28-year-old Aubameyang, with 13 goals in all competitions already this season, is key to Gabon’s hopes of a first-ever World Cup place.They must avoid defeat against Morocco in Casablanca to stay alive in the qualifying race. With two matches to play, the Ivorians top the Group C standings with seven points, Morocco have six and Gabon five. Only the group winner qualifies for the World Cup.