Gabon players have refused to board the plane to Cameroon for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations due to unpaid bonuses, according to reports.
Patrice Neveu’s men were scheduled to leave their training camp in Dubai for Yaounde on Wednesday afternoon but they did not come out of their hotel rooms.
According to Gabon All Sport, the players gave Gabon’s Ministry of Sports a three-day ultimatum which expired after their last friendly match against Mauritania which ended in a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.
Earlier this year in preparation for the Afcon, the Panthers battled Burkina Faso in an international friendly fixture which ended in a 3-0 defeat for them.
Amid the growing concern over the unpaid bonuses, the Gabonese Football Federation (Fegafoot) is said to have threatened to take home-based players to Cameroon.
“The players were categorical. They do not fly if the premium payment situation is not resolved,” a source close to the Gabonese national team was quoted as saying, per Gabon All Sport.
“They also deplore the fact that one of the officials has indicated that they will take local players for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations if they do not embark.
“This is the status quo. Everyone has been in the lobby of the players’ hotel for almost 3 hours, but they are in their rooms. And suddenly, we also go back to our rooms.”
The issue might have unsettled Gabon who are scheduled to begin their quest for glory in Cameroon with a game against Comoros on January 10. They will also face Morocco and Ghana in Group C.
Gabon are led by Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and they are back on the continental stage after missing the 2019 edition in Egypt.
Their best record in the competition was in the 1996 and 2012 editions when they reached the quarter-final stage.