Omar Sey the CAF health officer for The Gambia / Gabon match explained the circumstances that led to the incident at the airport. Speaking to KerrFatou, Omar Sey said the Gabonese players refused to surrender their Covid 19 test certificates to authorities at the Banjul International Airport.
The players were scheduled to arrive 6pm but instead arrived at midnight without any correspondence to Banjul. According to Mr Sey the players also refused to have their samples taken at the airport.
Under the rules no one should be allowed in without a certificate or testing at the airport. But with the intervention of the Gabonese Ambassador the players were allowed to go to the hotel where their samples will be taken this morning (Monday) with the results expected before kickoff at 5pm.
Mr Sey said the Gambian team have undergone similar Covid 19 protocols in Gabon successfully having arrived days before the Match with only one sample returning positive.
The tests conducted on the Gambian players in Gabon resulted in the best player of the Gambian squad returning positive which disqualified him from the match.
The Gambians now believe that the Gabonese fear that a test at the Banjul airport would return the favor and disqualify their best players, and that is why they are refusing the airport administered test.
The public health officials at the Banjul airport were given assurance by the Gabonese sports minister and the ambassador that tests will be conducted on each member of the delegation at their Hotel. It was after this assurance the delegation was allowed to leave the airport.
‘‘Let me state that it’s mandatory for the Gabonese delegation including the players be tested with a negative outcome before they can play with the scorpions. Their refusal of being tested at airport raises more doubts about the state of their players. We want to believe their actions are a clear indication that the test certificates in their possession may be fake, GFF GS discloses ’’
In light of the above, it’s our view that Gambia should not play with them if they refused to be tested to verify their status , Jassey added.
The matter is currently under discussion at the Technical/ coordination meeting at Football house spearheaded by the match commissioner.
The public would kept posted about the reaction of CAF regarding this very unpleasant behaviour of the Gabonese delegation.
@ KERR FATOU with correspondence reports from DNT’s Mustapha Manneh