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Ndong apologises for Gabon disappearing act

Football Soccer Britain - Southampton v Sunderland - EFL Cup Fourth Round - St Mary's Stadium - 26/10/16 Sunderland's Didier Ndong reacts Reuters / Hannah McKay Livepic/File Photo
Football Soccer Britain - Southampton v Sunderland - EFL Cup Fourth Round - St Mary's Stadium - 26/10/16Sunderland's Didier Ndong reactsReuters / Hannah McKayLivepic/File Photo

REUTERS - Gabon's Didier Ndong has apologised after being sent home by the national team for skipping training at the start of their preparations for last Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Mali.

The 22-year-old Sunderland midfielder told Gabon’s L’Union newspaper on Wednesday that he had missed training at the start of last week after celebrating the birth of his daughter.

Gabon, who host the African Nations Cup in January, sent him back to England and he missed the goalless stalemate with Mali in Bamako as well as Tuesday’s 1-1 friendly draw against the Comoros Islands, which was played in Tunisia.

“I let myself get carried away with the euphoria and with my friends," he said.

"But it is not true that I was not contactable. I just want to apologise to the people of Gabon and to my fans who believe in me. My sidelining from the squad hurts. I know I have disappointed more than just one person.”

Ndong said he had held clear-the-air talks with the Gabonese Football Federation and was keen to get back into the squad.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

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