Gabon coach, Jose Antonio Camacho, spoke out yesterday on Spanish radio, on the El Larguero programme on Cadena SER, about the strange events that occurred the morning before his side played Morocco, where they missed their chance of qualifying for the World Cup Russia 2018: "We had two very difficult matches, one of them in Côte d'Ivoire, which we won, the other was in Morocco where the team was completely out of sorts. Some very strange things happened".
Gabon suffered food poisoning
The Spanish coach explained that many of the staff suffered food poisoning: "Half of the expedition was all day with diarrhoea and stomach ache. We had to go to a restaurant, away from the hotel at one o'clock In the afternoon, then at five o'clock we had to have a snack in a room, hidden away. These are things that happen when you play a game of this importance ... ".
Gabon's players, who had already experienced a similar situation during the African Cup, told him: "The players didn't trust anything and said that we should be careful. Whenever there is a match of this importance anything can happen. There was already a major issue in the African Cup".
Gabon players blamed the orange juice
The Gabon players suspect that the cause of the problem was the orange juice that was served to them in the hotel where the team are staying: "It's surprising that in these times these things can happen.I ended up in the bathroom all morning. The players who didn't drink the orange juice weren't affected, but those who did were. I didn't drink much, just a bit. We don't believe it could have been anything else. But it happened and it's very strange".
Camacho also said that some players refused to eat the hotel's food: "The players had already warned me; there were players who did not eat at the hotel, they asked for food from elsewhere. It's the bloody reality of the situation".
Morocco beat Gabon 3-0
Camacho accepted that his side had no chance out on the pitch, but said that what had happened that morning could have affected them a lot: "In footballing terms, they wiped the floor with us. I don't know how many starting players we lost. They were in the bathroom. We were washed out and physically tired. The entire coaching staff was in bed. I was the least affected. I'm not going to cry over missing out on the opportunity to be in the World Cup. Morocco were superior to us but something strange happened here, regardless of whether the teams are at different levels."
The coach of Gabon had explained the situation to a press conference, but the news didn't make an impact until Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang talked about it on social media.
Moitié de l'équipe + le staff mal de ventre incroyable le jour du match 🤔🤔🤔😆😂 ah non c'est fort 😤quel sacré jus d'orange 🍹ce matin🙈— Aubameyang P-E (@Aubameyang7) 7 de octubre de 2017
Gabon weren't given match balls
But this wasn't the only bizarre thing to happen according to Camacho, who said that Gabon had asked for match balls to train with before the game but they were never provided. "Another little thing, and I don't know who is to blame. We were playing in Casablanca, and when we arrived they didn't give us any of the balls we were going to train with, despite us asking for them. That just doesn't happen any more in professional football".