Gabon host Brazil as Nations Cup arena opens

Libreville's Stade de l'Amitie
Libreville's Stade de l'Amitie, which is due to host the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations final in February, welcomes Brazil for its first match on Thursday

Gabon coach Gernot Rohr believes the clash against Brazil will provide the perfect test for his side ahead of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Gabonese are co-hosting the tournament along with Equatorial Guinea and inaugurate their new stadium in Libreville on Thursday.

"This game is one to show that we are able to resist a big team," said Rohr.

Gabon have been drawn against surprise qualifiers Niger and former champions Morocco and Tunisia.

And Brazil will provide a stern test as the 2012 co-hosts finally get the chance to play a match at home - an event that has been rare with the construction of the Stade de l'Amitie in the capital.

Rohr has complained about the lack of friendlies at home before, but now the stadium that will host the Nations Cup final on 12 February is finally ready.

"The possibility to play at home is the chance to show to everyone that we have a good team and a good spirit," the German told BBC Sport.

Despite the absences of big names like Real Madrid duo Kaka and Marcelo through injury, hosting the five-time world champions represents a glorious opportunity for Rohr.

"This is really exciting for us because these games are very seldom," added Rohr.

"Brazilian players are the most technical in the world and it's a chance for us to have a big test against one of the world's big teams."

Gabon, who have never won the Nations Cup nor qualified for a World Cup, get their 2012 campaign underway when hosting Niger in Libreville on 23 January.

They play Morocco in the same venue four days later before moving to Gabon's second venue, Franceville, for their final Group C tie against Tunisia on 31 January.

Brazil, meanwhile, will host the next World Cup in 2014.

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