Following Gabonese national team star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s announcement this week that he was retiring from international football, Les Panthères manager Patrice Neveu is forced to move on without his star but can take positives from Gabon’s performance at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations without the FC Barcelona striker. Neveu named his team for Gabon’s opening 2023 AFCON qualifying matches which start with a June 4 date at DR Congo before wrapping up four days later against Mauritania at home.
2021 AFCON star Jim Allevinah leads the charge for the Panthers along with Denis Bouanga and Aaron Boupendza in an attack that still is more than capable of troubling any side. OGC Nice midfielder Mario Lemina has also decided to end his international career for the time being after discussions with Neveu, who expressed his disappointment with Aubameyang’s retirement but remained open to welcoming him back if he reconsiders in the future.
Guelor Kanga, André Biyogho Poko and Bruno Ecuele Manga remain the key veterans in the defense and midfield with Didier Ndong taking time away from the national team fold as well. Along with DR Congo and Mauritania, Gabon will be competing against Sudan as well in Group I for a top-two spot to secure qualification for the competition in Ivory Coast.