A shock awaits Cape Verde-Abdou

Edwin  - CEO January 29, 2024
Updated 2024/01/29 at 3:23 PM
5 Min Read
Amir Abdou
Amir Abdou

EXCLUSIVE: Lions of Chinguetti coach on the cusp of another history-defining moment


pictureMauritania’s defender #14 Dellah Yaly (R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with Mauritania’s French coach Amir Abdou (2nd R) during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 group D football match between Mauritania and Algeria at Stade de la Paix in B Image credit: Getty Images


Mauritanian coach Amir Abdou is a proven achiever. He isn’t new to creating history and causing upsets.


In this exclusive for CAFonline, he takes stock of what has been achieved so far at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023 and looks forward to more.


  • Round of 16 is familiar territory for a 51-year-old


  • Thinks of Cape Verde game as a unique opportunity to make history


For the second time running, you’re here for the AFCON; how does it feel?


I have been working with Mauritania for two and a half years and am proud of what we have achieved.


It’s a great honor for me to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time due to the hard work of the players who beat Algeria for us to qualify. I couldn’t achieve this alone, so it’s an honor.


What was the reception in Bouake like? 


We were surprised in Bouake; we had a good reception, the infrastructure was sound, the Ivorians welcomed us well, we were in a welcoming city, the field was in excellent condition, and the tournament was successful.


Knowing you are the first coach to win an AFCON game with Mauritania, how do you feel? 


Nothing can be achieved alone; this is collective work that has been done; we prepared the players mentally and physically and ensured that they had the right mindset to be up to the task.


I’m proud to have helped throughout this group stage. No one believed we could qualify for the group stage, but we made it; we are not giving up here and will continue.


Only God knows; at the moment, I’m only focused on the round of 16, and later, we will see.


You caused an upset in Cameroon and have repeated it in Côte d’Ivoire again; how do you build your team’s confidence for big games? 


What we achieved with Comoros was extraordinary since it is my country, and I said we could do this again. I said what happened with Comoros could be repeated with Mauritania, but no one believed in us, and at the end of the day, we qualified after the win against Algeria.


You were in a tough group with Algeria, Burkina Faso and Angola, how did you manage that?


The first two games we played against Angola and Burkina Faso favored us. It was essential for us to have a similar mindset. Later, the players believed in themselves and went for it. It’s positive for us.


What will be the approach for the 16-round games against Cape Verde? 


We are going to get ready and have the proper preparation for this match; Cape Verde is also considered an outsider, so all I can say is we are going to get ready and prepare accordingly.


So, we need to be calm. No one believed we could qualify. The objective is to stay humble and make sure we go as far as possible, get through this knockout stage, make history, and bring joy to the people of Mauritania.


This is a dream, a vast dream. To achieve this dream, we have to go step by step and look at the matches. If we get a good game against Cape Verde, we will look at what we can achieve later.


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