Gabon drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso in 2017 Africa Cup of Nations action at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on Wednesday night, with the AFCON hosts settling for their second consecutive stalemate of the group stage.
A converted first half penalty from captain and star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out the opener from Burkina Faso’s Préjuce Nakoulma, who scored early in the first half for the Stallions.
As a result, the Panthers have two points and sit tied for second in Group A along with Burkina Faso. Cameroon top the group following their 2-1 victory over Guinea Bissau on Wednesday.
With only one match left in the group stages, the host nation requires a higher scoring win against the Indomitable Lions than Burkina Faso will potentially secure against Guinea Bissau to be sure of progression.
Despite disappointing in their two games thus far, coach José Antonio Camacho believes that his side will be able to overcome Cameroon and qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
‘Failing to beat Burkina Faso was frustrating. We had several chances but we did not convert them though the players gave their best and attacked, piling pressure on Burkina Faso,’ Camacho said to the media following his side’s draw.
‘We had hoped for a win but it did not come. I know the frustrations from our fans but we hope to atone despite having a tough fixture against Cameroon,’ he added.
‘I am optimistic we will qualify for the quarterfinals even though a lot of pundits have written us off after the draw. As a coach I have to keep on encouraging and motivating my players to keep the focus and work hard on the pitch,’ the former Spain coach concluded.
With the pressure on Gabon to progress at their home AFCON tournament, striker Aubameyang, who scored both of their goals thus far, will need to lead his team to victory in the all-important final match against Cameroon, using the support of the home crowd to give them an added advantage and the motivation needed to secure victory.
It would be a pity to see the hosts fall at the first hurdle, and perhaps a combination of Cameroon and Gabon progressing to the quarter-finals would provide the competition with the right ingredients for an exciting knockout stage.