Africa Cup of Nations record

Previous appearances in finals: (7) 1994, 1996, 2000, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017

Best performance: Quarter-finals in 1996 and 2012

Drawn in Group C with the Comoros Islands, Ghana and Morocco

Coach: Patrice Neveu

The 67-year-old Frenchman has been a regular feature in African football with previous spells in charge of Niger, Guinea, DR Congo and Mauritania before taking up the Gabon post in March 2019.

He coached at the 2006 Cup of Nations finals with Guinea, where they got to the quarter-finals.

Key player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Age: 32 Forward.

French-born with a Spanish mother, Aubameyang was raised in Italy but chose to play for the country of his father, who captained Gabon when they made their maiden Cup of Nations finals appearance in 1994.

Aubameyang was named African Footballer of the Year in 2015 after impressive scoring form in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund.

But he goes into the tournament under a cloud after being stripped of the captaincy at Arsenal and dropped from the team for disciplinary reasons.

FIFA world ranking Dec. 2021: 89

How they qualified: Second placed team in Group D behind Gambia but ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Jean-Noel Amonome (Uthongathi), Anthony Mfa Mezui (Rodange 91), Junior Noubi (Vannes), Donald Nze (Maniema Union)

Defenders: Junior Assoumou (Le Mans), Bruno Ecuele Manga (Dijon), Yannis Ngakoutou (Lyon La Duchere), Gilchrist Nguema (Maccabi Ahi Nazareth), Johann Obiang (Rodez), Sidney Obissa (Olympic Chaleroi), Anthony Oyono (Boulogne), Lloyd Palun (Bastia), David Sambissa (Cambuur Leeuwarden)

Midfielders: Louis Ameka (Maghreb Fes), Medwin Biteghe (Al Adalah), Andre Biyogo Poko (Altay), Guelor Kanga (Red Star Belgrade), Mario Lemina (Nice), Serge-Junior Martinsson Ngouali (HNK Gorica), Alex Moucketou-Moussounda (Aris Limassol)

Forwards: Jim Allevinah (Clermont), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Denis Bouanga (St Etienne), Aaron Boupendza (Al Arabi), Ulrick Eneme Ella (Brighton and Hove Albion), Kevin Mayi (Umraniyespor), Axel Meye (Ittihad Tanger), Fahd Ndzengue (Tabor Sezana).