Aubameyang promises better by hosts Gabon

LIBREVILLE: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and hosts Gabon vowed to put a poor start to their Africa Cup of Nations behind them and beat Burkina Faso on Wednesday in the second series of Group A matches. A “Panthers” team captained by the Borussia Dortmund star striker conceded a last-minute goal to only draw 1-1 with minnows Guinea-Bissau in the tournament opener. Former African Footballer of the Year Aubameyang put the home team ahead with a tap-in only for Juary Soares to nod the leveller off a free-kick.

With four-time champions Cameroon held 1-1 by Burkina Faso later last Saturday, every team has one point and identical goal records going into the second round of group games. Gabon and Burkina Faso clash at 5:00 pm local time (16:00 GMT) in the 40,000-seat Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville followed by Cameroon against Guinea-Bissau three hours later.  Aubameyang knows he and his team-mates let supporters of the central African team down and has promised a better performance against opponents they beat 2-0 at the same stage two years ago. “We have learnt from our mistakes,” said the 27-year-old born in France to a Gabonese father and a Spanish mother, making him eligible to represent three nations.

He opted for Gabon, a country once captained by his father who have never gone further than the quarter-finals at the Cup of Nations. “I remain positive that we can reach our first goal, which is qualifying for the knockout phase,” said the leading Bundesliga scorer this season with 16 goals from 15 matches. “We have lofty ambitions in this tournament and playing at home in front of our wonderful supporters is a great advantage. “Mistakes were made against Guinea-Bissau, like conceding a goal in the final minute. We must now rectify those errors and defeat Burkina Faso.”  The Burkinabe fell behind to Cameroon and survived an onslaught before levelling. — AFP