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Football

AFCON Updates: Aubameyang tests positive for COVID-19

The AFCON trophy

The delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is only three days away and teams have already started arriving in Cameroon while in the midst of this Aubameyang tests positive for COVID-19, ready for the month-long African football extravaganza.

SportsLeo will be bringing daily updates, previews and news coming from the Central Africa nation all through the tournament.

-Aubameyang tests positive for COVID-19

Aubameyang tests positive for COVID

Gabon captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

While he expected to have a reprieve playing at the Africa Cup of Nations with Gabon, exiled Arsenal star Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has received a major setback after testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival into the team’s training camp.

Gabon coach Patrice Neveu has confirmed that his skipper tested positive and now his presence for their opening game on Monday against Comoros hangs in the balance.

Apart from Aubameyang, teammate Mario Lemina and assistant coach Yala Anicet have also tested positive after taking a lateral flow test. The three are also set to take a PCR test for a more conclusive finding.

Aubameyang and Lemina were pictured having fun in a nightclub in Dubai over the weekend are said to be asymptomatic and are not showing any symptoms.

Aubameyang has had a troubled last one month and was stripped of Arsenal’s captaincy by head coach Mikel Arteta due to disciplinary issues.

The striker has also been exiled from the first team and has not been on the match day squad since his expulsion.

The absence of the two biggest attacking threats in their team offers a challenge for the coach especially with their confidence tainted following a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Burkina Faso in a friendly match.

-No Ighalo for Nigeria’s Super Eagles

Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo

With Emmanuel Dennis, Paul Onuachu and Victor Osimhen all injured, Nigeria have received a fresh blow with veteran striker and 2019 AFCON golden boot winner Odion Ighalo set to miss this year’s showpiece.

Ighalo was not part of the Nigerian contingent that touched down in Garoua on Wednesday night for the tournament with the Nigerian Football Federation stating that his Saudi Arabian club has refused to release him.

It is the same problem that existed between the Nigerian Federation and Watford over Dennis. Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab have refused to release their top scorer, saying that the letter requesting for his services at the AFCON did not arrive in the stipulated time.

Ighalo who just towards the end of last year came out of retirement to help Nigeria into the final qualification round for the 2022 World Cup had hoped to play his third Cup of Nations.

Nigeria are now left with a massive task in their attack and all eyes will now be on Leicester City star striker Kelechi Iheanacho as the Super Eagles look to do better than 2019 when they finished third.

-CAF partners with Umbro, TikTok

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced two new partnerships, one with Umbro South Africa and second with Chinese social media platform Tik Tok.

CAF announced a multi-year partnership with Umbro South Africa to become the exclusive technical sponsor for CAF organized tournaments and events.

The partnership will commence in January 2022, where Umbro will kit all referees, volunteers, and associated personnel for the Africa Cup of Nations in addition to supplying the tournament’s official ball.

CAF General Secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba said: “Umbro has been an intrinsic part of African football for a long period, and we are pleased to finally formalise this relationship and ensure that we take this to another level.”

In addition to technical sponsorship and the provision of official uniforms for tournament personnel, the partnership will be focused and driven by a strong emphasis on increasing the visibility and commercial aspects of African football.

Meanwhile, CAF’s partnership with TikTok will allow fans to celebrate the tournaments’ unforgettable moments together. With everything from pre and post match content and highlights, to football-related challenges, TikTok will become a home for the spirit and passion of these iconic sporting events.

TikTok will be offering its community new ways of creating and engaging with African football, with cool in-app effects, a special hub for tournaments as well as cool features and filters for the football community to enjoy.

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