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Despite being the one of the two host nations, not much was expected from Gabon, but that soon changed after their first game where they dominated Niger to win 2-0.
Their next match against Morocco proved to be their best game of the tournament as they fought back from a goal down and then scored a spectacular goal in injury time to clinch the match 3-2.
The Panthers then beat group rivals Tunisia 1-0 to finish on top of Group C, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996.
However, their brave journey came to an end when they lost their quarterfinal tie against Mali on penalties after the sides were deadlocked at 1-1 after extra-time.
It was unfortunate that their star performer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had scored a goal in each of their group games, was the only player to miss during the penalty shootout.
Gernot Rohrs side surprised many people with their quick passing game and expert finishing, and were unlucky not to reach the semifinals.
This oil-rich country of two million people automatically qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as co-hosts.
This will be their fifth appearance in the bi-ennial tournament. The highlight of their participation was achieved at the 1996 edition in South Africa where they got as far as the quarterfinals.
Last year, they again showed great promise with a very youthful team under Frenchman Alain Giresse. They beat Cameroon 1-0, drew with Tunisia before they fell short of going beyond the group stage with a 2-1 loss to Zambia in Benguela.
Giresse was subsequently fired and his replacement is the German Gernot Rohr, who guided French club Bordeaux to the 1996 final of the UEFA Cup against Bayern Munich.
His previous working stint in Africa was in Tunisia with Etoile du Sahel between 2008 and 2009.
Angola 2010 was meant to be a dress rehearsal for the Azingo before the big party they are to throw for Africa along with Equatorial Guinea.
And so several players from that outing including 34-year-old skipper Daniel Cousin, ex-Glasgow Rangers and Hull City of England star, are back on the African glory trail again.
Cousin returned to his native country to join Sapins from Larissa of Greece in October so as to boost his chances of making his countrys final squad.
There is also the experienced midfielder Cedric Moubamba, who has won over 50 caps for Gabon and now plays his football in Oman.
But in a team that is short on quality, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be said to be the countrys highest profiled star as he has been in fine form for French club Saint Etienne.
In November, the Nations Cup co-hosts will host mighty Brazil in a friendly in Libreville as they step up their build-up for Africas biggest football feast.
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