Afcon 2017: Gabon's Mario Lemina ruled out of tournament

Mario Lemina
Mario Lemina had been expected to be a key player for Gabon

Hosts Gabon will be without Mario Lemina for the rest of the Africa Cup of Nations because of a back injury.

The 23-year-old Juventus midfielder not did not play in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso.

Lemina's absence is a major blow to the Panthers, whose hopes of progressing at the tournament hang in the balance.

Gabon face Group A leaders Cameroon on Sunday and must win to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals. Defeat would eliminate them.

Burkina Faso, who are level with Gabon on two points - two points behind Cameroon, take on bottom-of-the-group Guinea-Bissau in the other match.

Panthers' coach Jose Antonio Camacho said Johann Obiang would not fit to face Cameroon after the full-back was forced off injured in Wednesday's game.

The match also took its toll on 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso, with star man Jonathan Pitroipa and Jonathan Zongo both suffering injuries that have brought their tournaments to premature ends.

"We have lost Pitroipa, who is a fundamental part of our strategy, and Zongo, who does not play much but was the best player at our pre-tournament training camp," said coach Paulo Duarte.

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