Despite intermittent high points along the way, Gabon's performances in FIFA World Cup™ qualifying have never been sufficient to earn them a spot at the final tournament. Early wins against Morocco and Togo were not enough ahead of South Africa 2010, for example, and Gabon's victory against Nigeria on the road to Italy 1990 was an isolated achievement. Their hopes were quickly snuffed out in the lead-up to Brazil 2014 as well, with Gabon finishing a long way behind Congo and Burkina Faso in the second round.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the central figure in a young side containing various players with European experience. Several squad members have served together for a number of years as well, especially Bruno Ecuele Manga and Didier Ovono, but Les Panthères (the Panthers) still stumbled out of the 2015 CAF Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage, despite an opening win against Burkina Faso. Emerging talents Malick Evouna and Henri Ndong nonetheless offer hope for a brighter and more consistent future.
Gabon have put their faith in the experience and knowhow of Jorge Costa. The former Porto and Portugal centre-back was adept at passing out instructions from the heart of defence and he has carried on spreading his message since moving to the sidelines in 2007, when he began his coaching career at Braga. Costa then held the reins at a number of more modest sides, with Gabon his first foray into international management.
2 – The number of points Gabon picked up during the Men's Olympic Football Tournament at London 2012. Les Panthères enjoyed a moderately successful campaign in their maiden Olympic outing, finishing third in their group and losing only to eventual winners Mexico, 2-0.
The former stars
Francois Amegasse, Pierre Aubameyang, Daniel Cousin