Gabon Look To Dominate Rookies Comoros
Gabon will look for a dominant performance in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group C opener against rookies Comoros on Monday 10 January.
The match is set for the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé with kick-off at 19h00 GMT.
Gabon are returning to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations after missing on the last edition. They secured their qualification under coach Patrice Neveu.
The Panthers finished second on Group D in the preliminaries below the Gambia and enter the 2021 finals as a credible outsider, at least to pass the group stage.
They boast of quality players led by striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is set to play in his fifth Nations Cup.
The French-born attacker has a point to prove after being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and dropped by the Premier League club in December.
Coach Neveu though has been alienated part of the public by choosing to leave out experienced midfielder Didier Ndong, is hopeful that his young squad will win the group opener and go all the way to next round.
” I know that with the team that we have, there is the potential to go to the next round, that will be the main objective. Our group is balanced. I don’t want to make predictions, but I know what we have the team for,” the gaffer said.
Their opponents Comoros are something of an unknown quantity at this level, with the 2021 AFCON marking their major tournament debut.
The Coelacanths secured qualification by finishing as runners-up to Mali in Group C of the preliminaries. The East Africans boast stars such as Ali Ahamada, Chaker Aldahour, Bendjaloud Youssouf and Faiz Selemani.
Comoros coach Amir Abdou was forced chose to lean on the nation’s diaspora, particularly in France, to find the best set of players possible.
The Island nation has been preparing at training camp in Saudi Arabia, and coach Abdou was keen to emphasize that his team is comfortable in the face of such stern opposition.
“We will have to be very serious and attentive against these very high level opponents. We will try to do our best, and for us, it is a great pleasure to participate in this AFCON for the first time. It is a pride and an honour to represent the Comoros for this competition. We have nothing to lose,” Amir Abdou said.
In head-to-head stats, Gabon and Comoros have never met in any competitive match and the Panthers will be expecting to face a stubborn Coelacanths side in their first Group C game.