London — Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho has verified Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s claim that the nation’s World Cup hopes were dashed by dodgy orange juice.
The Borussia Dortmund striker put out a tweet claiming that half the Gabon team and staff had suffered stomach problems after drinking the juice at breakfast ahead of Saturday’s crucial qualifier with Morocco in Casablanca.
Gabon duly lost the match 3-0, ending their hopes of reaching a first-ever World Cup finals and putting Morocco in pole position in Group C ahead of the Ivory Coast.
Aubameyang wrote in his tweet: “Half the team and the staff ill with upset stomachs. Incredible on a matchday . . . Oh no, it’s a good one! What orange juice this morning!”
And Camacho, speaking to Cadena Ser, backed up Aubameyang’s claims: “I also was affected. We believe it was the orange juice because those that did not have it were fine.
“I just had a sip so I didn’t have a lot, but I still spent the morning of the game going from my bed to the toilet.
“I was the least affected, but it left you tired. Half of my team and staff had stomach pains and diarrhoea throughout the day of the game.
“They had to constantly go to the toilet. It’s strange that this happened the day of the game, but that’s the reality.”
Former Spain manager Camacho said he couldn’t be surprised by the events, as the Gabon players had warned him about this kind of thing before.
He added: “The issue of food was just very strange. You feel perplexed that nowadays this can happen. My players had already warned me to expect something like this.
“I was told by them that they had had a similar situation in the African Nations Cup. They said that we had to be wary, they didn’t trust anything. Some players wouldn’t eat at the hotel.
“We went to eat outside the hotel at 1pm in a restaurant and then hid in a hotel bedroom to have tea at 5pm.
“This disrupts your schedule and the team’s rest. These are things that affect you when you are playing such an important game. It should not happen in international football.”
Khalid Boutaib scored all three of Morocco’s goals in front of 60 000 spectators in Casablanca.
It left Gabon with just five points from five matches and out of contention for the World Cup despite a 2-1 win in the Ivory Coast earlier in the campaign.
They play Mali at home in a dead rubber on November 11. — DailyMail