Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Gabon side missed out on qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations after being held to a 1-1 draw in Burundi that saw the hosts qualify for the tournament for the first time in their history.
Gabon had to win in Bujumbara to qualify again for the tournament they hosted in 2017 but a Cedric Amissi goal in the 75th minute left them with too great a mountain to climb in their bid to reach the finals, which take place in Egypt in June and July.
It may not be a cause of great disappointment at Arsenal that Aubameyang misses out on the tournament, though it marks another disappointment for the 29-year-old on the international stage. Gabon have been eliminated at the group stage at the last two AFCON tournaments and failed to qualify for last summer’s World Cup.
Aubameyang struggled to make a major impact on the match, wasting a late free-kick by striking for goal from great range with most of his team-mates expecting a cross. An own goal from Burundi defender Omar Ngando set up a nervy finish for the hosts, who held on to ensure they and Mali made it out of their qualification group.
The draw prompted jubilant scenes among Burundi fans at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium, with manager Oliver Niyungenko dropping to the pitch in celebration.
Aubameyang has enjoyed an at-times tempestuous relationship with the Gabonese federation and missed his country’s previous games despite being named in the squad. No official reason was given for his reason though it was speculated that he was unhappy with the facilities and travel arrangements made by the governing body.