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Gabon boss Camacho backs Aubameyang dodgy orange juice claim

Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho has backed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's claim that the nation's World Cup qualifying bid was sabotaged by dodgy orange juice.

Gabon striker Aubameyang complained in a tweet that the orange juice at breakfast had left half the team and staff with stomach problems ahead of their crucial African Group C qualifier in Morocco on Saturday.

Gabon lost 3-0 in Casablanca to see their hopes of qualifying for next summer's World Cup ended.

"I also was affected," Camacho told Cadena Ser. "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 coach Camacho says his players had warned him that this could happen after experiencing a similar situation at the African Nations Cup.

"The issue of food was just very strange," he said. "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 1 p.m. in a restaurant and then hid in a hotel bedroom to have tea at 5 p.m. This disrupts your schedule, the team's rest. These are things that affect you when you are playing such an important game. It should not happen in professional football."

Gabon had won 2-1 at Ivory Coast on Sept. 5 but they were a shadow of themselves against Morocco.

"The team gave a very good image against Ivory Coast but against Morocco, my team didn't look like itself," Camacho said. "We lacked energy, the team looked tired on the pitch. My players weren't in the right condition to play such an important game.

"Morocco were superior to us and we don't have the standard yet that Morocco has but we still had our options going into that game. Now we have lost them."

Gabon end their World Cup qualifying campaign at home against Mali on Nov. 11.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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