Since the start of the 2018/19 season, this is the third international break and Southampton’s Mario Lemina has made it to Gabon’s squad on all three occasions.

The 25-year-old represented his country in September and October for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, but will be forced to sit out of the Panthers clash against Mali.

After Wednesday’s training session, he suffered a muscle injury and his absence for Saturday’s African Cup of Nations qualifiers has already been confirmed by Gabon head coach Daniel Cousin.

“I honestly cannot count on players who are not 100%, it is difficult. I need those that are in good shape,” Cousin was quoted as saying Gaboneco.

“I cannot trust him [Lemina], because Saturday’s game will be physically demanding.

“So there is no question of taking risks, Mario is going to look after himself quietly. I do not know if he will attend the game for the spirit of the group or will he return to his club. The most important thing is that he takes care of himself.”

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It’s still not clear as to how long the former Juventus man will be out of action as the Saints will be waiting to find out more details about their player’s latest setback.

Lemina has been a key player for Southampton, starting in 12 league this season. The English club will be hoping his injury is not serious as they face a tough run of matches.