Nouakchott Mauritania Sports
The travelling fans celebrated the return of their favourite team to the National Hockey League (NHL) with a victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night.
After two draws against Gambia, Mauritania started the qualification for the 2002 World Cup in Nouakchott. The team secured its place with a 2: 1 win against Botswana and thus finished third in a group that also included Angola and Burkina Faso. A little over six months later, Moulaye Ahmed's two goals against the Gambians, including an injury-time goal, had an impact like nothing the Martins of Mauritania had ever seen. In the last qualifying round, the team was appointed by the current coach and former national coach Yves Boulogne of France, and they were called by his former team-mate, former captain and current coach of the United States of America (USA), John O'Neill.
Mauritania wants to stamp its mark on the African game in future by qualifying for the Women's Africa Cup of Nations. To get there, they would first have to pass by Benin And then Burkina Faso, host of the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations. After failing to qualify for the World Cup in 2019, the country had no manager and had to wait until the tournament was over. With qualification for the 2022 World Cup not due to begin until 2021, Mauritania hopes to emerge from it and make history.
Qualification for the 2006 World Cup and participation in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations would be short, but not long.
Mauritania had not won a game on home soil since winning the Amilcar Cup in 1983, and 12 years later the competition returned to Mauritania. After their worst defeat of 1972, a 13-0 defeat to Guinea, preceded by an 11-0 defeat to Mali, they failed to win another game. They picked up two draws but a defeat to Gambia denied them entry to the knockout round.
This path of misery cost Mauritania a place in the semi-finals, having suffered defeats to Egypt, Burundi and Botswana. After finishing second, they failed to qualify for the last three - finishing second - and lost at home to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Guinea-Bissau in their final group games.
The lack of attention to football in the country also has an impact on sport, as is shown by a league dominated by clubs from the capital Nouakchott, which has won only one league title in its history. This has damaged and affected sport in Mauritania, which has become one of the poorest football nations in Africa. The country's football progress has been severely affected, with its Premier League being played at a lower level than any other football league in South Africa, Africa or the Middle East.
As longtime coach Johnson Masayo noted when he coached the national team for 15 years, this happens in sport. Back in 2009, he told Reuters that "there is a huge problem and if we want to develop football we need the right infrastructure." He said: 'There are huge problems, there is a big problem if you want us to develop football that is right.
On 3 July 2014, however, CAF announced that Equatorial Guinea had been disqualified for not using Thierry Fidjeu in the match. Mauritania moved up to second place and later qualified as a substitute host for the final round of the tournament. However, they won the game 2-1 to secure a place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Martins led the Mauritanians to a 3-0 win over Senegal in their first game, which is reserved for players playing club football on the continent. They also qualified for the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa by beating Botswana 2-1 and Ghana 4-2.
While the tournament organisers took over the accommodation in Mallorca, air travel and other expenses were financed by the federation, with the 22-man squad experiencing their first experience of life in Mauritania. The team flew with a six-man backroom staff to Djibouti, where they played their first game in the capital Nouakchott against the same team as the Mauritian Under-20 men's team that has been at the summer tournament in the past.
He is also trying to improve coverage of football in the country by setting up a television studio and a weekly program devoted to football coverage. He also aims to upgrade the local pitches nationwide, promising to build a 10,000-seat stadium for the national team's home games, a new stadium for international matches both in and around the capital, Nouakchott, and to build a football stadium of the same size and quality as that in Djibouti to upgrade the local pitch across the country.
Mauritania's match against Ethiopia in June 2018 was devastating, being crushed 4-1 away, with the match cancelled by FIFA due to Ethiopia's suspension. Mauritania lost 2-0 at home to Senegal in November 2017, a 3-3 draw. The challenge now is to put Mauritiana on the big stage by competing with Tunisia and Angola, whom it defeated in the group stage of the 2015 African Nations Cup in South Africa, and Ethiopia in a group.