Captains shine in Gabon 2017 AFCON opening game

Posted by News Express | 15 January 2017 | 2,844 times

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•Gabon’s captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.

Good leaders are expected to lead by example and at AFCON 2017 captains have already made a case for their armbands at Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville.

In what may not be an outright battle for who can be the best, the captains have outdone themselves in a bid to ensure that their countries come out on top.

First up was Gabon’s poster boy and captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang whose 51st minute goal past Guinea Bissau’s goalkeeper Jonas Mendes sent the crowd into frenzy to display the thrill and excitement a tournament of this caliber entails.

There would never have been a better script that Aubameyang who has been extraordinary at club level with Dortmund would rise up to the occasion and score the tournament’s first goal whilst restoring faith among the fans that were desperate for something special from their team.

Indeed everything was on course until a stoppage time goal from Juary Marinho Soares ruined what could have been a perfect day in Gabonese football after a great display at the opening ceremony.

In the shadow of the two goal scorers lies Guinea Bissau captain Jose Luis Mendes Lopes who controlled the tempo of the game connecting the defense to their attack and rallying his teammates to maintain their focus and avoid conceding as they sought an equalizer.

Lopes has been officially named the man-of-the-match in the tournament opener and rightly so as this will go down as a memorable day in their history – their incredible debut to upset the hosts with a last minute goal.

In the second game of the day between four-time African champions Cameroon and AFCON 2013 runners up Burkina Faso, the captains were once again under the spotlight.

Cameroon’s Benjamin Moukandjo who has quickly become a dependable player for the Indomitable Lions looked the part when he opened their scoring in the 34th minute with a well-taken freekick past goalkeeper Kouakou Koffi who until then had denied them.

Burkinabe captain Charles Kabore was not one to be left off the pack of the shining men with the armbands as his display kept his side in the run in for a place in the quarterfinals.

The 1-all draw between Cameroon and Burkina Faso only makes Group A more exciting and is a sign that this tournament will be a thrilling one.

Burkina Faso take on hosts Gabon in their next tie on January 18 at Stade de l’Amitie while Cameroon will be up against Guinea Bissau. (Usher Komugisha/Supersport)

Source: News Express

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