Gabon – African Nations Cup – Qualifying Review
Black Panthers Look to Wow in Angola
Welcome to the Gabon National Football team blog, just in time for 2010 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, otherwise known as the ANC. This years edition of the bi-annual African championship comes to us from Angola, where the simple act of hosting the tournament (well maybe not so simple) is a delightful achievement for a nation so recently removed from civil war. Before we get into the football, how about a brief introduction to Gabon itself?
Who Are Ya?
Gabon is a west African nation which is quite large for its population, in fact, with only 1.5 million people in an area almost the same size as Italy, it has one of the lowest population densities on earth. Thankfully, Gabon has managed to avoid the strife and turmoil that characterizes many of its west African neighbors, and there are a few reasons for this.
The first is that Gabon is endowed with some serious amounts of natural resources, specifically, oil. Couple that fact with its aforementioned tiny population, and you have a ton of money to go around. Add into the mix a continual French military presence (Gabon is a former colony), and the fact that they have had only two presidents since their independence in 1960, and the result is a very stable country, relative to its neighbors. That’s not to say all is rosy, as extreme inequality and crushing poverty confront the majority of the population on a daily basis. All in all however, they are in a better spot on the whole than many of their immediate neighbors.
The Important Stuff
Now to the football. To say Gabon punches above its weight would be an understatement. As mentioned earlier, with a population of only 1.5 million, it is staggering that it can have success on a football pitch, regularly competing with and beating nations with vastly larger player stocks. As a point of reference, Gabon finished its final qualifying round with 9 points, in a considerably more difficult group than say, Nigeria, who finished with 12 points (but has a population of over 150 million. Yeah.).
That qualifying group contained Gabon, Cameroon, Morocco and Togo, four teams who all could have legitimate aspirations of claiming the World Cup spot when the draw was announced. Togo had participated in Germany 2006, Morocco has played in four world cups, and no introduction needed for Cameroon, who ended up winning the spot on the final day, when Gabon lost to Togo, and the Indomitable Lions defeated Morocco.
Key Matches From Group A
Gabon 2 Morocco 1
The Black Panthers stun the Moroccans in Casablanca, setting the tone for the campaign on Matchday 1
The Gabonese destroy Togo at home, almost ensuring a two horse race for the qualifying spot.
In a tight game in Libreville, Emana and Eto’o ensure the victory for the Lions.
On the final matchday, Adebayor sets up Floyd Ayite to smash home and end Gabons hopes for South Africa, but sending them to Angola in a very respectable 2nd place.
In the next post we will take a look at some key players for the Black Panthers, and what their group in Angola looks like.
go gabon go Daniel cousin!
Glad someone is covering Gabon, well done Matt! Followed them and covered a number of their games during qualifying and came away very impressed (and quite surprised in the first match for sure). Looking forward to our match against them in Angola. Gonna be a real test for us because we’ve had so many changes in the squad and Giresse already has Gabon playing well together.
Posted from United States
Thanks Rami, that will be a huge match! Looking forward to it, and good luck vs Zambia.
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