Gabon skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admitted he wants to be Africa’s next superstar after helping his country to victory in their opening game at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2015.
The lightning-quick 25-year-old scored the opening goal in Gabon’s 2-0 win against Burkina Faso in Bata and later said that he wants to be mentioned in the same bracket as the likes of Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o. “I try to do the maximum to become one of the greats like Drogba and Eto’o,” said the Borussia Dortmund star moments after he inspired his country to victory over the 2013 Cup of Nations runners-up.
“I don’t feel any pressure to be like them, but there is maybe a level of expectation around me and I saw during the warm-up that our fans were applauding me in particular. That is nice and it gives you the motivation and the desire to do well. When people expect great things from you, you try to do great things.”
Aubameyang set Azingo National on the path to victory when he scored after 18 minutes and he was also involved in the second goal, which was netted by Malick Evouna in the second half. The Dortmund forward initiated the attack from which Frederic Bulot delivered a telling cross from the right for the WAC Casablanca striker to finish off.
Aubameyang finished second behind Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure for the 2014 CAF African Player of the Year prize and he also made the final five nominees for the 2013 awards. Born in France, the former Saint-Etienne man has grown up a lot since his agonising experience at the Cup of Nations in 2012.
Then, when Gabon co-hosted the tournament with Equatorial Guinea, he missed the decisive penalty in a quarter-final shoot-out defeat to Mali. But Aubameyang is determined to make up for that miss and lead Jorge Costa’s Panthers into the latter stages of this year’s competition.
“That penalty I missed against Mali in the quarter-final, even if I missed it, remains a good memory for me because it made me grow up. But for this competition, we are starting from scratch. It’s a new tournament and it has begun well for me with a goal. I hope we reach the quarter-finals again this time, and if we get another penalty then I will score it.”
Having beaten the team who coach Costa described as the strongest in the section, Gabon could qualify for the last eight with victory in their next match against Congo, providing the result in the other game goes their way.