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Aubameyang attributes AFCON ouster to poor preparation

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Gabon’s forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reacts at the end of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group A football match between Cameroon and Gabon at the Stade de l’Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on January 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

• Gabon’s coach Camacho gutted by exit

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 yesterday 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 Cameroun.

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 Cote d’Ivoire in August in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Meanwhile, Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho has sent a passionate appeal to the Gabonese fans asking for forgiveness for failing to qualify for the quarterfinals.

A visibly shaken Camacho who took over the helm in December just a month to the tournament said he was disappointed for having failed to take the team to the last 8 despite his team playing extremely well in all the three matches.

Camacho also was bold enough to praise Cameroon for qualifying for the quarterfinals after the hard fought draw.

“It’s a sad day for me and I want to sincerely apologise to the entire country for failing to qualify for the quarter finals. We played very well in all our three group matches but we were just unlucky “Camacho told

“It is a very difficult time for the players and especially that we were the hosts and you could see how emotional they were but again that’s football we have to accept the results “he added.

Prodded to suggest what would be his next step after being eliminated Camacho brushed off the question “we have to start again and move on I have my long term plans for Gabon after AFCON though the players have to take a break now, “he concluded.

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