Saturday’s 2023 AFCON qualifier between Gabon and DR Congo in Kinshasa saw the kickoff delayed until the late evening where Gabon stunned the Leopards with a 1-0 road victory but it has come out that travel issues are causing a rift between the players and the Gabonese federation. Captain Bruno Ecuele Manga along with the team refused to travel after returning to Gabon following the win, stating that the team needed rest after an exhausting period of travel that saw them win despite arriving in Kinshasa only hours before kickoff with seventeen players and an assistant coach to lead them.
Part of the team including star forwards Aaron Boupendza and Denis Bouanga as well as manager Patrice Neveu were not able to make it to the match in Kinshasa due to technical problems with their plane on a stopover in Barcelona, making the Panthers’ victory an incredible feat. Boupendza and Ecuele Manga, who was on the bench but did not play, have accused the Gabonese federation of unprofessionalism on their social media and in comments to media. There is plenty to sort out with Gabon scheduled to play at home against Mauritania on Wednesday and senior players in the squad irritated by a continuing theme of disorganization.