People in Gabon are far from excitment with the 31st edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which kicks off in the country on 14th January.
Africa’s most prestigious soccer showdown returns to the West African nation, five years after the country co-hosted the tournament with Equatorial Guinea in 2012.
However the return has proved not to be worth ululations as media reports indicate.
The aftermath of last year’s general election continue to haunt the nation that even hosting the tournament is failing to mitigate its effects.
Ali Bongo retained his seat as the country’s president having narrowly beaten Jean Ping, a result that led to political turmoil.
Speaking to BBC Focus on Africa yesterday, a Gabonese citizen said people in his country are not as happy as they were in 2012 with hosting the AFCON.
He cited a wave of political events that swept across the country after the August elections last year as the reason behind the gloomy atmosphere. On the contrary, Gabonese National Football team official Daniel Cousin implied the spirits were high in the country ahead of the tournament.
The former English Premier League player with Hull City said people in the country are filled with excitement looking forward to see their team reaching the final having prematurely exited the 2012 occasion in the last eight.
In the opening game, the hosts Gabon will lock horns with Guinea Bissau on Saturday at 6 PM Central African Time before Cameroon and Burkina Faso crack bones in the second fixture three hours later.
The hosts’ main man is none other than the Borrussia Dortmund forward, Pierre Emeric Aubameyang.
He is undoubtedly one of the players to watch in the three week long tournament.
He is currently the team’s captain. Southern Africa’s sole representatives Zimbabwe will play Algeria in the second day at 6 PM.
The other teams in the warrior’s group are Senegal and Tunisia.
The forthcoming soccer show is full of surprises after some minnows qualified at the expense of giants.
Among the surprise packages are Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Guinea Bissau.