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The Lions of Chinguetti in the shadow of AFCON

Posted : 08 January 2024

The Lions of Chinguetti have had average performances in African football over the years, especially at the biennial AFCON. They managed to appear twice, first in 2019 and then in 2021. The AFCON 2024 will mark their third appearance, commencing in Cote D'Ivoire on January 13.

Mauritania's Lions of Chinguetti made their debut in the AFCON on November 18, 2018, after winning 2–1 against Botswana, securing a spot in the 2019 tournament.

In the 2019 AFCON, the Lions of Chinguetti defeated Mauritius 1–0 in the first leg of a preliminary round qualifier in Nouakchott. SC Bastia's midfielder, Adama Ba, scored the only goal midway through the first half. The return leg in Curepipe ended 2–0 in favor of Mauritania, with goals from Demba Sow and Moulaye Ahmed Bessam.

In the first round, first leg match, the Lions of Chinguetti beat Equatorial Guinea 1–0 in Nouakchott. The deadlock was broken in the 76th minute by their Tunisian-based striker, Ismaël Diakité. However, Equatorial Guinea won the return match 3–0 in Malabo.

Despite Equatorial Guinea winning 3–1 on aggregate, they were later disqualified by CAF for fielding an ineligible player, Thierry Fidjeu, allowing Mauritania to advance to the second round. Equatorial Guinea qualified later as replacement hosts.

In the 2019 AFCON, the Lions of Chinguetti failed to progress beyond the preliminary stage, finishing at the bottom of Group E with leaders Mali, second-placed Tunisia, and Angola.

For AFON 2024, Head Coach Amir Abdou has revealed the final 27-man squad list for Mauritania. The team is in Group D with 2013 finalists Burkina Faso, 2010 hosts Angola, and 2019 champions Algeria.

Notable inclusions are 19-year-old Oumar Ngom, playing in the French lower division, and the surprising return of former Ligue 1 midfielder El Hadji Ba, who last featured for the national side in March. Mouhsine Bodda is also named in the squad, along with familiar faces like captain Aly Abeid, TP Mazembe's Ibrahima Keita, former Guingamp player Guessouma Fofana, Hemeya Tanji, Bakary N'Diaye, and striker Aboubakary Koita.

The squad includes seven home-based players, with six from the same team, FC Nouadhibou, currently making history in the group stages of the CAF Champions League. Mauritania started their AFCON preparations in Tunisia and will have a warm-up game with the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.



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