Mauritania, a team on the rise in recent years, are ready for the Yemeni challenge in the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2020 qualifier today as they vie for the lone qualification spot in Group B, where Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Syria await.
Mauritania coach Corentin Martins feels his team has all the ingredients that are required to tackle the tough Yemen side at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
“It is difficult, of course, because it is football and the chances remain equal. We have followed the Yemeni team and monitored it well through their recent matches, and I think that my team is capable of qualifying, but we have to seize the opportunities as we don’t get another chance,” Martins said during the pre-match press conference yesterday.
Mauritania’s improvement can be measured by their jump of more than 100 places in the FIFA World Rankings between 2012 and 2017. The Lions of Chinguetti not only have their sights on returning to Qatar later this year, but also making football’s showpiece event in 2022 after being drawn in an African zone qualifying group with Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia and Zambia.
After making their Africa Cup of Nations debut in 2019, Mauritania recently secured their place in the next edition of the tournament in early 2022. Their international record also includes appearances in three Pan Arab Games in 1976, 1985, 1997.
Captain Adama Ba also sounded confident as he said his team would give their best.
“The match is one opportunity that we should not waste, we must be careful and avoid making mistakes and I am sure we will give our best performance tomorrow,” Ba said.
Having seen their hopes to make Qatar 2022 come to an end during the latest round of Asian zone World Cup qualifying in Saudi Arabia, Yemen is also hoping for a better show today. Yemen lost to Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Palestine in group matches recently to go out of contention.
“The match is difficult for us, especially after the disappointing performance in the double qualifiers. We are motivated to overcome our recent poor show. We want to bring smiles back on the faces of our fans,” Yemen coach Mohamed Ali Guacem said.
“One-off matches are difficult as sometimes just one mistake will cost you your chances, but we’ve ready for the match,” he said.
Mauritania coach Corentin Martins and Yemen coach Mohamed Ali Guacem (right) address a press conference on the eve of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2020 Qualification match.