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Aubameyang retires from international football

By Vincent Ashitey
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has called time on his international career after confirming he will no longer represent Gabon.

The Gadon federation said it received a letter from the Barcelona striker and Gabon captain on Tuesday informing it of his decision, after playing for the national team for 13 years.

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In Aubameyang's letter published by his country's football federation, he thanked the Gabonese people, his coaches, teammates and his father, who also played for Gabon in the 1980s and 90s.

"The captain of the Panthers will no longer be with the national team for the next qualifiers, the final phase of which is scheduled in Cote d'Ivoire. The FC Barcelona striker has decided to end his international career and sent a letter to the Gabonese Football Federation (FEGAFOOT) on May 17, 2022.

“After 13 years of pride in representing my country, I announce that I am ending my international career. I would like to thank the Gabonese people and all those who have supported me in good and bad times.

“I will keep a lot of good memories, like the day I made my debut or the day I came back from Nigeria with the African Ballon d’or. Sharing it with all the people was an unforgettable moment.

“I thank our President, his excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba who has always supported the Panthers and has always worked for football to evolve in our country. I would also like to thank all my coaches, staff and the players that I have come across during this career.

“Finally, I thank my father who gave me the desire to do like him, hoping to have him proud by wearing our colours.” In 2015, Aubameyang became the first Gabonese player to win the African Footballer of the Year, an honour won most recently by Liverpool star Sadio Mane.

The 32-year-old Aubameyang played 72 times for Gabon and is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 30 goals. With Aubameyang at the heart of the team, Gabon reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 African Cup of Nations to equal its best performance in international soccer.

Aubameyang’s last tournament with Gabon was a bitter disappointment, though, when he contracted COVID-19 at the start of this year’s African Cup in Cameroon and had to withdraw from the tournament without playing a game after being diagnosed with heart lesions.

He announced his decision to retire from internationals two weeks before Gabon starts its qualifying campaign for next year’s African Cup in Ivory Coast.