Connect with us


Aubameyang left out as Gabon name squad for 2026 World Cup qualifiers



Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the surprise omission from Gabon’s 23-man squad named for this month’s 2026 World Cup qualifying double-header.

New coach Thierry Mouyouma recalled young defender Urie-Michel Mboula, who received his first call-up in September, alongside two new goalkeepers.

Mangasport’s Loyce Mbaba and Anse Ngoubi Demba of fifth-tier French club US Raon-l’Etape are the shot-stoppers who received their first call-ups.

Mboula, a 20-year-old central defender who plays for Sanliurfaspor in Turkey, returns to the squad after missing last month’s friendlies.

The new coach opted to leave out the experienced striker Aubameyang when announcing his squad for the two matches against Kenya and Burundi.


The absence of the France-based attacker comes amid a difficult spell at new club Marseille where he has managed just five goals since joining in the summer.

The 34-year-old was also not available for his country as he stayed with Marseille while Gabon played friendly matches last month.

But Aubameyang has now been frozen out again by new coach Mouyouma for the matches on 16 and 19 November.

Among the notable inclusions are some of Gabon’s seasoned campaigners, such as Mario Lemina of Wolves in England, Denis Bouanga plying his trade with Los Angeles FC in the MLS, Aaron Apidangoyé from Sivasspor in Turkey.

Didier Ndong, who currently plies his trade at Al-Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, was also included as all of these top players missed last month’s friendlies.


Established players such as Mario Lemina, Denis Bouanga, Jim Allevinah, and Ecuele Manga will also be instrumental in guiding the squad during the upcoming fixtures.

Gabon have been placed in a tricky Group F of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers alongside Kenya, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia and Seychelles.

Only the nine group winners will automatically qualify for the finals in USA, Canada and Mexico – and one team will enter the FIFA play-off tournament.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading