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Profiling the AFCON teams: Mauritania

Mauritania will be featuring in their maiden AFCON tournament. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

Mauritania will be featuring in their 1st Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament. The Lions of Chinguetti along with Burundi and Madagascar will be making their AFCON debut.

In the 2019 edition, Mauritania is in Group E alongside Tunisia, Mali and Angola.

Mauritania were not allowed to participate in qualification for the first two AFCON tournaments (1957 and 1959) as they were still part of France.

Even after separation from France, they did not take part in qualification for the next nine (9) AFCONs between 1962 and 1978.

Their first attempt to qualification came in 1980 where they fell short, the same result which graced them in 1982.

For the 1984 edition, Mauritania did not take part in the qualification process.

Between 1986 and 2000, the Lions of Chinguetti either failed to qualify, withdrew or opted out of qualification.

Between 1986 and 2000, Mauritania did not take part in AFCON qualifiers.

For the editions between 2002 and 2010, Mauritania attempted but failed to reach the finals tournament after falling short in the qualification.

In 2012, they withdraw from taking part while in 2013, Mauritania did not enter qualification.

For the 2015 and 2017 tournaments, the Lions of Chinguetti tried to qualify for the two editions but could not negotiate their way through qualification.

Coach

Corentin Martins

Martins is a 49-year-old former French attacking midfielder who has been the head coach of Mauritania since 2014.

Martins has been head coach of Mauritania since 2014.

He started his managerial career in 2006, with lowly Quimper Cornouaille. In the following year he was named his first club’s director of football, but had a brief spell as interim coach in the beginnings of the 2008/2009 campaign; he subsequently stayed on the bench, now as an assistant for the Ligue 2 team.

During 2011/12 and 2012/13, Martins acted as caretaker for Brest as a replacement for sacked Alex Dupont. and Landry Chauvin, respectively. After managing to avert top flight relegation in the former season, he lost all eight matches he was in charge in the latter, with the subsequent 20th position in the table and relegation.

On 8 October 2014, Martins was appointed manager of Mauritania. In January 2019, he extended his contract until 2021.

Star Player

Bessam

Bessam is a striker who plays at Tunisian side AS Gabes.

He started his career with ASC Ksar until he was called to represent the national team by the “then” coach Patrice Neveu. He scored on his first game with the national team, and made an assist in the 2-0 win over Senegal that Qualified the Mauritanian team to the 2014 African Nations Championship in South Africa.

In May 2014, Bessam signed a two-year contract with Algerian side JS Kabyile. On August 16, he made his JS Kabylie debut, away to MC Oran, scoring the second goal in a 2–0 victory.

He currently plays at AS Gabes for whomhe has played one game and scored as many goals.

Bessam has scored one goal in as many games for his AS Gabes club.

Projection: Group Stage

Mauritania’s fixtures at AFCON 2019

-Mali vs Mauritania, 24nd June
-Mauritania vs Angola, 29th June
-Mauritania vs Tunisia, 02th July

Mali’s 23-man squad for AFCON 2019

Goalkeeper: Souleimane Brahim (Nouadhibou), Namori Diaw (Kedia), Babacar Diop (Police)

Defenders: Aly Abeid (Alcorcon/ESP), Abdoul Ba (Auxerre/FRA), Diadie Diarra (Sedan/FRA), El Mostapha Diaw (Nouakchott Kings), Bakary Ndiaye (Difaa el Jadida/MAR), Sally Sarr (Servette/SUI), Harouna Sy (Grenoble/FRA), Abdoul Kader Thiam (Orleans/FRA)

Midfielders: Khassa Camara (Xanthi/GRE), Ibrehima Coulibaly (Grenoble/FRA), Alassane Diop (Hajer/KSA), Abdoulaye Gaye (Nouadhibou), Dialo Guidileye (Elazigspor/TUR), El Hacen el Id (Real Valladolid/ESP). Mohamed Dellah Yali (Tadjenanet/ALG)

Forwards: Souleymane Anne (Aurillac Arpajon/FRA), Adama Ba (Giresunspor/TUR), Ismael Diakhite (Tataouine/TUN), Moulaye Ahmed Khalil (Gabes/TUN), Hemeya Tanjy (Nouadhibou)

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