Burkina Faso and Gabon will look to get their Group A campaign at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations off to a winning start when they meet at Estadio de Bata today.
Burkina Faso were the runners-up at the last Nations Cup tournament, losing 1-0 to Nigeria in the final after putting together a fantastic campaign in South Africa 2013. The Stallions will be appearing in their 10th continental finals and aiming to once again compete for the trophy.
Coach Paul Put, who has been in charge of the team since March 2012, oversaw a solid qualifying campaign in which Burkina Faso ended second (behind Gabon) in their preliminary group, losing just once. With Jonathan Pitroipa, the 2013 AFCON player of the tournament, still at the height of his powers, most pundits expect the Stallions to be one of the more attack-minded teams at the tournament.
Gabon have their own star in the shape of Borussia Dortmund attacker Pierre Aubameyang. The lightning-quick 25-year-old scored two goals in qualifying to help the Panthers finish top of their preliminary group (ahead of Burkina Faso) with an impressive unbeaten record.
Gabon will be appearing in their sixth Nations Cup tournament in 2015. Their best showing is reaching the quarterfinals, both in 1996 in South Africa and as co-hosts in 2012.
The teams have met in 17 previous official international matches and Gabon have claimed six wins compared to Burkina Faso’s three, with the remaining eight encounters ending in draws. Their last competitive meetings were in the qualifiers for this very tournament – the Panthers won their home leg 2-0 in Libreville, while the return match in Ouagadougou ended in a 1-1 draw.