Gabon were stronger than the other teams in their Africa Cup of Nations finals group but were undone by poor preparations, leading forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said on Monday as the hosts headed out of the competition.
“We had everything to qualify, we had chances. Unfortunately, there are days where it does not work out, like my first opportunity two metres from the goal,” Aubameyang said of a golden early opportunity in Sunday’s final Group A game against Cameroon.
It ended goalless to add to two other draws for the hosts, who were the first home side eliminated in the first round of the Nations Cup for 23 years.
“We struck the post, the goalkeeper made an array of saves. I think we’ve been stronger than the other teams in the group,” Aubameyang said.
“But the preparation, the change of coach, it was not easy, we started late,” lamented the Borussia Dortmund player.
Gabon fired Jorge Costa, the former Portuguese international, 70 days before the tournament started and appointed Jose-Antonio Camacho to replace him with only one month to go.
“It’s all very disappointing because I think we were growing in power. The last two games, we were not bad, each player gave everything. It’s frustrating when you make the efforts but the conditions are not there to make a great tournament,” Aubameyang added.
Aubameyang, who scored in the opening two games, admitted that his own contribution could have been better.
“I know there was a lot of expectation around me,” he said. “I’m not entirely satisfied with my performances, I think I could have brought a little more. Sure I scored two goals but I wasn’t at 100 percent.”
Gabon next host the Ivory Coast in August in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.