While the Panthers of Gabon begin their CAN 2021 this Monday against the Comoros, their preparation has been disrupted by several scandals.
Does Gabon have the lead in the African Cup of Nations (CAN)? Patrice Neveu's players start their competition against the Comoros on Monday evening. On the ground, as outside, recent events have disrupted the preparation of the Panthers.
The Gabonese are particularly in disagreement regarding bonuses that have not been paid to them. On Friday and Saturday, Neveu's players decided to boycott their training sessions. In total, the Gabonese Football Federation (Fégafoot) owes nearly 15 million CFA francs to each player, or about 23 euros. The Fégafoot has however always assured to have paid the premiums due.
Another disturbance in the preparation of the Panthers: the Covid-19, which was invited into the competition and which touched two stars of the team, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina, both tested positive.
Accusations of child criminality
If the sports preparation is already disrupted, it is especially the extra-sports that poses a problem. For several weeks, the Gabonese Football Federation (Fégafoot) has not really had its head at CAN 2021. Blame it on The Guardian newspaper revelations in mid-December concerning a large-scale sex scandal within the Fégafoot.
This case of pedocriminality implicated the coach of the under-17s, Patrick Assoumou Eyi, accused of having raped hundreds of children. A scandal which also affected the national team. Indeed, the current steward of the Panthers is also accused of sexual abuse. Serge Mombo is close to the boss of Fégafoot.
In addition to this case, there are logistical problems. The African Football Confederation (CAF) criticized Gabon following the decision of Fégafoot to change hotel, the latter being "contested" by the Gabonese football authorities "because not having all the amenities required for a sportsman of high level ".
Three matches to make people forget the scandals
CAF said it was "surprised" by the Gabonese decision. The president of the disciplinary jury, Raymond Hack, threatened to submit this case to the disciplinary jury. On the side of the Gabonese press, it is estimated that the change of course of the Panthers is due to a party in which several players took part. What the Fégafoot denies, ensuring that the "images broadcast on an evening of the players of the national team (...) are out of context and prior to the greening of Dubai".
So many problems that did not help the Panthers to prepare properly for their CAN matches. If the meeting against the Comoros seems affordable, Gabon will then, in its group C, challenge Ghana and Morocco. Two essential appointments. Because if the Panthers do not succeed in leaving their group, the various scandals which have punctuated the preparation of the team will only be more publicized.