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Aubameyang targets 'correct' result against Burkina Faso

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had scored 16 goals for Borussia Dortmund before leaving to lead Gabon's 2017 Africa Cup of Nations campaign.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had scored 16 goals for Borussia Dortmund before leaving to lead Gabon's 2017 Africa Cup of Nations campaign. File

Gabon skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vowed his teammates would put a poor start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign behind them and beat Burkina Faso on Wednesday in the second series of Group A matches in Libreville.

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Gabon conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 with Guinea-Bissau in the opening game of the Cup of Nations on 14 January.

Aubameyang, the 2015 African Footballer of the Year, put the hosts ahead early in the second half before the 89th minute leveller from Juary Soares.

"We have learnt from our mistakes," said Aubameyang. "I remain positive that we can reach our first goal, which is qualifying for the knockout phase.”

In their previous six visits to the Cup of Nations, Gabon have never advanced further than the quarter-finals. Their quest to at least emulate that mark was aided when Cameroon and Burkina Faso also drew 1-1 in their opening game.

"We have lofty ambitions in this tournament and playing at home in front of our wonderful supporters is a great advantage," said Aubameyang, who scored 16 goals in 15 matches for Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga before heading off for international duties.

"Mistakes were made against Guinea-Bissau, like conceding a goal in the final minute," the 27-year-old said. "We must now rectify those errors and defeat Burkina Faso."

But victory at the Stade de l’Amitié will not be straightforward. Burkina Faso finished runners-up to a Stephen Keshi-inspired Nigeria in 2013. Centre-back Bakary Kone, skipper Charles Kabore and winger Jonathan Pitroipa – stalwarts from that 2013 run – are still in the team.

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos referred to Burkina Faso’s 2013 campaign to warn his players about the dangers of taking on so-called minnows. He added: "Playing against less well-known teams can be tricky. And we do not want to go into our final group game against Gabon needing a win to survive.

"I have studied the history of the Cup of Nations and it is littered with upsets. Remember, Zambia won the 2012 title in Libreville against massive odds when they beat Cote d’Ivoire.

"The days when higher ranked countries could go into a group game confident of winning convincingly are long gone. We want to beat Guinea-Bissau and reach the quarter-finals and then see where we go from there.”

Guinea-Bissau - nicknamed the Wild Dogs - emerged from a qualifying group containing Congo Brazzaville and Zambia and their good form continued with the stalemate against Gabon. "We now have the motivation to go far," said coach Baciro Cande. "My team may not have any big name footballers, but we have unity and determination. And that counts for so much. No one gave us a chance against Gabon."

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