Nations Cup hosts Gabon hopeful despite setback

Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring a goal. African Cup of Nations - Gabon v Guinea-Bissau - Stade de l'Amitie - Libreville, Gabon - 14/1/17 - REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

By Mark Gleeson

LIBREVILLE (Reuters) – Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says the African Nations Cup hosts remain hopeful they can advance at the tournament despite a disappointing start on Saturday.

The talismanic Borussia Dortmund forward, whose form is likely to be crucial to the home team’s chances, scored first in the Group A clash against newcomers Guinea Bissau, but saw his side concede a last-minute equaliser to share the points.

The pressure is now on Gabon to achieve positive results from their next two group games against Burkina Faso and Cameroon, with the top two in the group advancing to the quarter-finals.

“We remain positive. We’re at home, it remains a big advantage for us and this is a tournament in which we want to achieve something,” Aubameyang told reporters.

“We made a mistake (giving away a late goal) but it is now up to us to rectify the problem and win the next game.

“Obviously the result was not ideal to start with. The first half was difficult. We began with a little stress, we were a little tense.

“Unfortunately in the end, we let in a goal that we should not have conceded. It was a mistake that we should not have made. It will teach us not to repeat it.”

Aubameyang, with 21 goals in all competitions this season, carries a heavy burden of expectation on his shoulders as the leading light of the Gabon team, yet apart from his goal he was largely anonymous in Saturday’s clash.

Gabon’s next match is against Burkina Faso on Wednesday.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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