Aubameyang and Brahimi latest names to pull out of Afcon qualifiers

By Mohamed Fajah BarrieBBC Sport, Sierra Leone
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Gabon captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Algeria striker Yacine Brahimi are among the latest players to pull out of the forthcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Aubameyang will not be available for Gabon's match against Mali at home on Saturday for medical reasons.

The striker cleared up any confusion over his absence by stating on twitterexternal-link that the Arsenal doctor has informed the Gabon coach Daniel Cousin about his unavailability.

29-year old Aubameyang, who has played in two of Gabon's four previous 2019 qualifiers, was originally named in a 23-man squad for the group C encounter.

Gabon's opponents Mali will also play without their skipper Abdoulaye Diaby who plays for Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon.

The striker has withdrawn from the squad because of injury along with Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Amadou Haidara.

Lens left back Massadio Haïdara was the first to pull out of Mali's 23-man squad last week, also due to injury.

Mali are top of group C with eight points while Gabon have seven, followed by Burundi with six, and bottom side South Sudan who are out of contention are still seeking their first points of the campaign.

In other big-name withdrawals, FC Porto's Yacine Brahimi will miss Algeria's match against Togo in Lome on Sunday due to injury.

He was released from the Algeria camp on Wednesday after he was declared unfit to play.

Defender Rafik Halliche who plays for another Portuguese club Moreirense is also an injury doubt.

Tunisia will be without four players for their dead-rubber match with Egypt in Alexandria on Friday as both teams have already qualified for the finals in Cameroon.

Goalkeepers Mouez Hassen of French club Nice and Etoile du Sahel's Makrem Bediri will both be missing along with midfielders Mohamed Amine Ben Amor (Etoile du Sahel) and Ghailane Chaalali of Esperance.

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