Samba, the official mascot for the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, Gabon 2017, was unveiled on Friday, 25 March 2016 during the Gabon versus Sierra Leone Day 3 clash at the Stade de Franceville, Franceville.
Nicknamed 'Samba', the mascot is a black panther with its claws out, thumbs up, spotting a yellow shirt over blue shorts, representing the colours of the national team of the host country, Gabon.
It signifies the symbol of strength and power, and also represents a feeling of party and fun, just like the legendary hospitality of the Gabonese.
In Bantu language, 'Mbolo Samba' means 'hello, welcome' accompanied by a big warm hug synonymous of welcome.
In attendance were Gabon President, Ali Bongo Ondimba; CAF President Issa Hayatou and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who had earlier visited South Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti as part of his tour of the continent.
The AFCON 2017 is scheduled to take place from 14 January to 5 February in four cities namely Libreville, Franceville, Oyem and Port-Gentil.
A CAF inspection team is currently in Gabon to monitor and evaluate preparations for the tournament as the qualifiers reaches the halfway mark.