The Lions of Chinguetti, Mauritania’s national football team, have touched down in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, filled with ambition and hopes of turning the tide in their favor in the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2023.
This arrival marks their third consecutive appearance in the finals, a testament to the team’s growing stature in African football.
The team were warmly welcomed at the airport, dressed in their vibrant traditional colors, signaling their readiness to take on the challenges of Group D.
This year, the team is under the guidance of Amir Abdou, the former Comoros head coach who notably led Comoros to the round of 16 in the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.
Speaking ahead of the games, Abdou expressed his determination to improve upon past performances. “We are ready, and we will do our best to get the win against Burkina Faso in our opening game,” he confidently stated.
Mauritania’s journey in the previous two AFCON tournaments ended without advancing from their group, but the team’s spirit remains undeterred. They are set to face formidable opponents in Group D, including the 2019 champions Algeria, 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso, and Angola. The challenge is steep, but the Lions of Chinguetti are no strangers to adversity.
Key defender Aly Abeid, who played in the last two campaigns, is back for his third. Reflecting on past experiences, Abeid acknowledges the disappointment but remains optimistic about their chances this time. “The first game is always the most difficult one, so, we need to get a positive result, and we will take it from there after the first game,” he shared, underlining the importance of a strong start.
Mauritania’s opening match in the 2023 TotalEnergies CAF AFCON will be a litmus test for their ambitions. They face Burkina Faso at the Stade de la Paix in Bouaké on Tuesday night, a game that could set the tone for their campaign. With renewed vigor, strategic leadership, and the lessons from their past appearances, Mauritania is poised to potentially script one of the most inspiring stories of this year’s AFCON.
As the excitement builds, all eyes will be on the Lions of Chinguetti, who are not just participating but aiming to leave an indelible mark on the tournament. Bouaké could very well be the starting point of an unexpected and thrilling journey in AFCON 2023.