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HomeNewsEXCLUSIVE: Mauritania’s Amir Abdou on the cusp of another history-defining moment

EXCLUSIVE: Mauritania’s Amir Abdou on the cusp of another history-defining moment

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 51-year-old 
  • Thinks of Cape Verde game as 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 half years now and I’m proud of what we have achieved so far. 

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

How was the reception in Bouake like? 

We were really surprised in Bouake, we had a good reception, the infrastructure was good, Ivorians welcomed us really well, we were in a welcoming city, the field was in really good condition, the tournament has been successful. 

How do you feel knowing you are the first coach to win an AFCON game with Mauritania? 

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

I’m really proud to help throughout this group stage, no one believed we could qualify from the group stage but we made it, we are not giving up here, we are going to 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’lvoire again, how do you build the confidence of your team for big games? 

What we achieved with Comoros was something extraordinary, since it is my country and I said that 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 have qualified after 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 were positive for us against Angola and Burkina Faso. It was important for us to have similar mindset. Later the players had believed in themselves and went for it. It’s positive for us. 

What is going to be the approach for the round of 16 game against Cape Verde? 

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

So, it is important for us to be really 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 really big dream, in order to achieve this dream, we have to go step by step, we have to look at the matches if we get a good game against Cape Verde, we will look at what we can achieve later on.