Gabon made its debut in April 1960 by entering the L'Amitié tournament for French-speaking countries, held in Madagascar. They played in the first round on 13 April against the Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), who were also making their debut, and lost 5-4. They did not play another match until the next time the tournament was staged, in April 1963 in Senegal. and were drawn in a group with the Upper Volta, France's amateur team, and the Gambia. They opened on 11 April by defeating the Upper Volta 4-0, and then lost 3-0 to the French team two days later. On 15 April, Gabon drew 2-2 against the Gambia and was knocked out.
After the 1962 tournament in Senegal, Gabon did not play a match until August 1965, when they hosted two friendlies against Nigeria, drawing 2-2 on 28 August and losing 4-1 the next day. In 1967, Gabon entered qualification for the football at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Japan, and was drawn in a two-legged qualifier versus Guinea. They drew the first leg 0-0 at home on 18 June but lost 6-1 away on 9 July and were knocked out.
In the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Gabon upset Cameroon 1-0 and had a good chance of progressing to the quarter-finals after a scoreless draw against Tunisia. However, Gabon lost 2-1 to Zambia as it finished in its group with a three-way tie with Zambia and Cameroon. Gabon only scored twice in the group stage and were eliminated on the goals scored tiebreaker. In 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, Gabon co-hosted the tournament as it won their group matches: 2-0 against Niger, 3-2 against Morocco, and 1-0 against Tunisia. The second match saw Gabon qualify for its first quarter-final since 1996 in the most dramatic circumstances. Gabon had come back to lead 2-1 only for Tunisia to tie the match in early in stoppage time. However, on the final play of the game, Gabon scored in the eighth minute of stoppage time. Eventually, Gabon lost 5-4 in penalties (1-1 a.e.t) in the quarterfinal against Mali, after a penalty missed by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had scored three goals in the tournament.
Gabon began its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in the second round in Group E as it was drawn with Niger, Burkina Faso, and Congo. Despite opening its campaign with a scoreless draw against Niger, Gabon lost 3-0 due to having fielded ineligible player Charly Moussono. After four qualifiers, Gabon scored only one goal, but thanks to an Aubameyang hat-trick on June 15, 2013, Gabon stayed in contention for a play-off berth with a 4-1 victory over Niger. However, Burkina Faso eliminated Gabon in the final qualifier with the 1-0 result as Gabon finished third in its group.
For the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Gabon has been drawn to qualify against Togo. Even though Daniel Cousin scored in each leg against Togo, Gabon missed out on the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations as it lost 3-2 on aggregate. A year later, Gabon played six qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as it was drawn with Burkina Faso, Angola and Lesotho. Despite a stunning 1-1 result in Lesotho in qualifying, Gabon finished ahead of Burkina Faso to top the group as it qualified for the tournament with a game to spare in Angola. In January 2015, Gabon was drawn along with Burkina Faso, Congo and Equatorial Guinea. However, its 2-0 victory on the opening day of the tournament were all the points Gabon achieved during the tournament as it suffered a shocking exit in the group stage.