Cameroon celebrate ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Tuesday Jan 24, 2017. 19:00
From the opening game of the tournament it was evident that Group A was set to provide a few shocks with Juary Soares' late header securing a 1-1 draw for Guinea-Bissau against Gabon.
The result for the hosts was a mere taster of what was to follow for the Panthers with further draws against Burkina Faso (1-1) and Cameroon (0-0) resulting in an early exit for the Panthers.
Gabon are only the fourth host nation to exit the Nations Cup at the group stage, following in the footsteps of Tunisia (1994), Ivory Coast (1984) and Ethiopia (1976), who all previously exited the competition on home soil prematurely.
With three points, Gabon finished in third place in Group A with AFCON minnows Guinea-Bissau occupying last spot with a single point.
Despite their positive start to what was their first Africa Cup of Nations campaign, the tiny West African nation were unable to continue the trend as they suffered successive defeats to Cameroon (2-1) and Burkina Faso (2-0).
Burkina Faso advance to the knockout stages as Group A winners with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finalists following successive 1-1 stalemates with victory over Guinea-Bissau; the win securing their place atop the group; level on five points with Cameroon.
Despite being without both Jonathan Pitroipa and Jonathan Zongo for their final group match, Bertrand Traore and Co stepped up to the plate as the Stallions marched on. They will face Tunisia for a place in the semifinals.
Cameroon, four-time winners of the competition, finished in second spot having just about survived wave-after-wave of attack from Gabon to ultimately hold the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang captained side to a 0-0 stalemate in Libreville.
The Indomitable Lions will face AFCON favourites Senegal in the next round of the competition.