Gabon/Burkina Faso: Gabon Coach Hopeful of Reaching Next Round Despite Draw

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his second goal of the Africa Cup of Nations to earn hosts Gabon a point from their match with Burkina Faso.
18 January 2017

Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho has called for calm after his side played to a second successive 1-1 draw at the African Nations Cup finals on Wednesday night, putting their hopes of claiming the trophy on home soil in doubt.

The Gabonese needed a penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to rescue a point which will likely mean they must beat group leaders Cameroon in their final Group A clash on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals.

But Spaniard Camacho, who was only appointed 43 days before the start of the tournament, points to the example of Cote d’Ivoire at the tournament two years ago and says there is no need for panic in the camp.

"The Ivory Coast won the last Africa Cup of Nations after drawing their opening two games," Camacho said. "Maybe it is a good omen. Everything still depends on us. If we beat Cameroon we will qualify.

“Failing to beat Burkina Faso was frustrating because we now have to wait for outcome of the Cameroon game. We had several chances but we did not convert them, though the players gave their best and attacked piling pressure on Burkina Faso.

“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.

“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.”

Gabon have been dealt a blow with the news that Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina has been ruled out for two weeks through injury, effectively ending his tournament.

The draw will also be disappointing in a way for Burkina Faso, though they will feel confident of advancing with plucky but limited Guinea-Bissau to come in their final game, also on Sunday in Franceville.

Having taken the lead against a fragile home side, victory would have virtually ensured a quarterfinal place.

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