The Gunners frontman has already dragged Gabon to the Africa Cup of Nations throughout a memorable week in a troubled worldwide profession
Even earlier than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s consideration turned to Arsenal’s Premier League blockbuster with Liverpool on Saturday night, he may already look again on a profitable week.
Solely as soon as earlier than within the ahead’s storied profession had he efficiently taken half in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying marketing campaign with Gabon earlier than they booked their tickets to Cameroon in the course of the worldwide break.
It’s fairly an attention-grabbing stat—significantly when you think about that the Nations Cup in 2022 will likely be Auba’s sixth main worldwide match.
In 2012 and 2017, Gabon certified as hosts, and subsequently didn’t must qualify.
In 2010, regardless of that includes within the match correct having made his worldwide debut in 2009, Auba performed no half in Gabon’s profitable qualifying marketing campaign.
Earlier than the 2022 occasion, the one time he’s beforehand taken half in a profitable qualifying marketing campaign was in 2014, when Gabon topped Group C forward of Burkina Faso, Angola and Lesotho to achieve the match in Equatorial Guinea.
Auba’s double in a 2-Zero victory over Burkina Faso in Libreville in October 2014 was vital in guaranteeing the Panthers topped the group.
This time round, it was crucial that Aubameyang and Gabon secured passage to neighbouring Cameroon for subsequent 12 months’s match.
The striker was a part of Gabon’s ill-fated 2019 qualifying marketing campaign, after they have been surprised by first-time qualifiers Burundi who took the ticket to Egypt of their place.
It was a bitter disappointment for the Arsenal man, who grew to become comfortably probably the most high-profile African participant to overlook out on the match.
In addition they missed out on the 2013 version, however contemplating Aubameyang’s standing on this planet recreation in the summertime of 2019—he had simply clinched the Premier League Golden Boot with 22 strikes—it was a major blow that he was not current on the continent’s grandest desk.
Qualification this time round—on the expense of neighbours Democratic Republic of Congo and once more, Angola—represents redemption for Auba and Gabon after the failure of 2019.
It was a substantial achievement, significantly contemplating the clout of the DRC, the menace of plucky Gambia, and mid-campaign controversy, when the Panthers have been compelled to take to the sector in Banjul regardless of having spent the earlier evening awake in a Gambian airport attributable to coronavirus confusion.
Nonetheless, it’s solely a part of the street to redemption for Aubameyang.
The striker as soon as claimed that his worst second in soccer had come in the course of the Nations Cup, when his missed penalty was accountable for Gabon’s elimination towards Mali within the 2012 quarter-final on residence soil.
“I missed a penalty towards Mali within the quarter-final shootout and that’s in all probability my worst second in soccer, however I stay with it and since then I’ve scored extra penalties,” he informed journalists.
“It’s a nasty second however it’s allowed me to create many good moments since.”
The nice moments at membership stage have been simple to detect—even when issues have been tough at Arsenal this season—however at worldwide stage, they’ve been few and much between.
Certainly, contemplating Auba was eligible for France, Italy or Spain earlier than choosing the Panthers, there certainly should have been occasions when he queried his personal choice to symbolize the Central Africans quite than pursue a global profession with one of many European giants.
Whereas that 2012 penalty miss clearly left Aubameyang distraught, certainly the primary spherical elimination on residence soil was 2017 was a larger failure.
Towards a backdrop of turmoil and stress between the staff and the federation, Auba was unable to encourage his troops to flee a none-too-demanding group stage, and Gabon limped out on the first hurdle.
Regardless of being Gabon’s all-time main, Aubameyang up to now has treasured little to point out for his worldwide profession up to now.
Whereas he could not be capable of drag this assortment of gamers to the title—regardless of the presence of the likes of Mario Lemina, Didier Ndong, Denis Bouanga and Aaron Boupendza—he does have a a lot stronger assortment of teammates than George Weah, one of many different nice African strikers to win the continent’s grandest prize.
Weah, nevertheless, broke new floor with Liberia, whereas Didier Drogba, Nwankwo Kanu and Michael Essien all achieved historic issues with their nationwide groups regardless of by no means getting their palms on the Nations Cup title.
A robust Afcon displaying for Aubameyang personally, and maybe profitable Gabon’s first ever knockout recreation within the competitors, and even the Closing 4, would symbolize a crowning achievement of a troubled worldwide profession.
He will likely be 32 by the point the match rolls round, and received’t get that many extra alternatives to impress on the grandest stage.
To this point, Gabon have solely ever received two Nations Cup matches away from residence—in 1996 and 2010—and this have to be the first goal for the Arsenal famous person.