The Point (Banjul)

Gambia/Mauritania: Mauritania in Banjul for Gambia Friendly

The Mauritanian national football team (Maurabitones) is currently in the country to play two friendly matches against the Scorpions of The Gambia.

The friendly matches, which take place on 27 February and 2 March 2013, are part of both countries' technical preparations for the coming World Cup qualifiers, CHAN, and other CAF competitions.

The warm-ups will also avail both countries the opportunity to further cement the already friendly ties between them.

The Scorpions, whose FIFA rankings have continued to worsen in recent times with the most recent filings this month at 145th position in the world and 45th in Africa, are expected to play Ivory Coast in March in the FIFA qualifiers.

Speaking at a joint press briefing held yesterday at the Bamboo Garden Hotel, Luciano Mancini, head coach of the Scorpions, described the game as very important as it will give more experience to our local players.

The Italian tactician, who is currently training with 24 local-based players at the FIFA Goal Project in Yundum, hinted at injecting 3 professional players in the game (Dawda Bah, Tijan Jaiteh and Abdou Jammeh), who are currently in the country.

Patrice Neveu, head coach of the Mauritanian national football team, said having this friendly game with The Gambia will help them see their errors and better prepare for their forthcoming game against Senegal, adding that in his own perspective he expects the Scorpions to give them a tougher test than when they face Senegal.

The French tactician, who has previously coached both Guinea Conakry and DR Congo, stated that he came with 24 local-based players, 4 of whom are U-19 and are yet to feature for the senior national team.

He noted that the local-based team is aimed at preparing for the CHAN while their professional players will be used for their Nations Cup qualifiers.

"We will play for preparation but hope to win," he remarked, saying that even in a test game "you aim to win".

Ebou Secka, Assistant Secretary General of the GFA Normalization Committee, welcomes the Mauritanian team and thanks their FA for accepting to play such important matches with The Gambia as the country is building up for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Ivory Coast next month.

The Gambia is morally and financially prepared for the games, he said at the press briefing chaired by Bakary B. Baldeh, Media Officer of the GFA.

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