Mauritania out to make history

Mauritania out to make history
Sarr Sally of Mauritania is challenged by Thamsanqa Gabuza of South Africa during the AFCON Qualifier match between South Africa and Mauritania 02 September 2016 at Mbombela Stadium Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 15, 2018. 13:00

Mauritania will look to make history when they host Botswana in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group I qualifier at Stade Cheikha Ould Boïdiya in Nouakchott on Sunday, 18 November 2018, kick-off at 19h00 CAT.

Mauritania lead the pool with nine points, with Burkina Faso in second place on seven points, Angola third with six points, and Botswana are at the foot of the table with one point.

With one or both of Burkina Faso and Angola set to drop points when they meet in Luanda on Sunday (kick-off at 17h00 CAT), Al-Murabitun know that a win over Botswana will secure a first-ever qualification for the AFCON finals.

Corentin Martins’ side are in this enviable position of strength thanks to a 1-0 home win over Angola on October 16. Their first match against the Palancas Negras four days prior ended in a 4-1 defeat, but they showed great character and resilience to bounce back.

And their growing stature has been reflected by the news that Issa Samba, who helped Farnce win the 2015 European U-17 Championship, has switched his international allegiance to represent Al-Murabitun.

Botswana, meanwhile, have already been mathematically eliminated from the running for Cameroon 2019, having extended their winless run in the group with a 3-0 loss and 0-0 draw against Burkina Faso last month.

This will be the fourth match between Mauritania and Botswana, with the Northwest African team chasing a third victory in the sequence. The teams last met in the first round of group stage qualifiers in June 2017, with Mauritania winning 1-0 in Francistown thanks to a goal from Mohamed Soudani.

Somalian referee Hassan Mohamed Hagi will take charge of the match in Nouakchott on Sunday.

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