Patrice Neveu coach of Mauritania © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Thursday May 15, 2014. 11:22
Mauritania host Equatorial Guinea on Saturday
in the first leg of their first round match-up in the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco next year.
In years gone by this would have been a ‘gimme’ win for the Guineans, but Mauritania have been a resurgent force in recent times, culminating in their surprise qualification for the African Nations Championship in South Africa earlier this year.
As their side, now led by the experienced Frenchman Patrice Neveu, are mostly made up of home-based players, it will be a very similar side to the one that did duty in January.
And Neveu will know all about Equatorial Guinea, having coached the side between 2004 and 2006 and been a keen follower of West African football since.
This has been a surprisingly common fixture down the years, with the countries meeting on nine occasions – with seven of those won by Equatorial Guinea and the other two drawn, including the last in Praia, Cape Verde Islands, in 2000.
The very first clash was in 1972 when Guinea won 14-0, but Mauritania have tightened up things since then and will even be confident of springing some sort of surprise at home to the inconsistent Guinea team.
Equatorial Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer will now that if he can come away from Mauritania with a draw, his players will be confident of completing the job in the return leg in a fortnight’s time.
Equatorial Guinea have failed to qualify for the Nations Cup finals just twice since 1996 – in 2010 and 2013.