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Gabon football stadiums ready, election ‘in past’ – minister

Libreville (AFP) – Gabon’s sports minister Nicole Asselé on Monday assured that the venues for the Africa Cup of Nations are “ready” ahead of the start of the tournament in Libreville on January 14.

Assele also insisted to AFP that the recent presidential election, in which the incumbent Ali Bongo claimed a contested victory over Jean Ping, was “in the past” as she sought to allay fears about the political situation in the central African country.

“The four stadiums are ready in Libreville, Franceville, Oyem and Port-Gentil,” said Assele, who had recently expressed “concern” about the new venue being built in Oyem, in the north of Gabon.

“They were not concerns about the stadium, but regarding outside spaces. I have been assured that parking facilities will all be ready by the end of the month,” she said.

Oyem will host matches in Group C involving Ivory Coast, Togo, DR Congo and Morocco.

Assele last week accompanied Bongo on a visit to the new stadium in Port-Gentil and said that problems regarding the pitch there had now been sorted.

“The elections are in the past. I am not thinking about the elections today but about about a celebration of football,” she added, saying that opposition calls for a boycott of the competition were “a shame. Dirty washing should be washed in private.”

Gabon, coached by Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho, will face Guinea-Bissau in the tournament’s opening game on January 14, with the final to be played on February 5.

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