Gabon's number one keeper Didier Ovono retires

Gabon's number one keeper Didier Ovono retires
Didier Ovono of Gabon

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday May 15, 2017. 14:30

According to mdia reports landing through to AfricanFootball.com, Gabon goalkeeper Didier Ovono has decided to hang up his gloves.

The 34-year-old net minder has announced his retirement from international football after 14 years as a the Panthers number one.

A report carried by the BBC website indicates that the K.V Oostende-based keeper in Belgium has amassed 106 caps over 14 years and was part of the Panthers' Africa Cup of Nations squads in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017.

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"After 14 years as an international I think the time has come to step aside from the team, and allow younger players to come through,” said Ovono to the French news website Jeune Afrique.

"I have played at four Africa Cup of Nations finals and I have more than 100 caps. I have given a lot to my country, which has also given me a lot. It was an honour to play for Gabon."

Meanwhile, the keeper made his name for the national team when he made his bow against Algeria in 2003.

He also admitted that his decision to represent Gabon at the 2017 tournament on home soil cost him his place at Belgian club Oostende - where he is out of contract at the end of the season.

"I don't have a club for next season, so my immediate priority right now is to find another team,” adds Ovono.

"I decided to play in the Nations Cup this year as it was unthinkable not to play this tournament with Gabon in my country.

"The officials of Oostende did not want me to go, but I went anyway. It happened that the other goalkeeper at Oostende [Silvio Proto] was injured.

"So the club signed another goalkeeper while I was away on international duty, which was logical.

"I returned from Gabon and went from number one to third choice; it was difficult and frustrating to watch the games from the bench or the stands.

"At 34 I think it will be impossible to make both my country and club happy, so at 34 it is better to retire and find a club where I can focus on a club career."

On the other hand, the 34-year-old also played in Gabon as well as in El Salvador, Portugal, Georgia and France.



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