June 8, 2023

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a video emerged of him partying with teammates in Dubai on the eve of the tournament.

The 32-year-old now has to self-isolate and is a major doubt for Gabon’s opening two matches against Comoros on Monday and Ghana four days later.

Although it is unclear exactly how Aubameyang contracted the virus, Aubameyang was pictured in Dubai on a night out with Mario Lemina, who has also since tested positive.

Arsenal had given Aubameyang dispensation to leave early in preparation for the tournament after manager Mikel Arteta decided he would not be involved in last weekend’s Premier League clash with Manchester City.

Aubameyang had been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy with reports revealing on Dec. 22, 2021 that the club was willing to listen to offers for the striker in January after a deterioration in his relationship with Arteta.

The coach had grown tired of repeated disciplinary breaches and believed Aubameyang was not setting the right example to the rest of the squad, claiming he lacked the “commitment and passion” to play for Arsenal.

Aubameyang was consequently told to train away from the rest of his teammates and allowed to join up with Gabon several days early.

By contrast, Arsenal retained Ghana’s Thomas Partey, Ivory Coast’s Nicolas Pepe and Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny until after the City game.

The latest episode will cast fresh doubt over Aubameyang’s attitude. He has been warned over potential breaches of COVID-19 protocol in the past.

He was previously fined for missing a COVID-19 test before a Europa League fixture and last February, Aubameyang was “reminded of his responsibilities” after footage emerged of him receiving a tattoo despite strict coronavirus guidelines. (Reuters/NAN)

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