30 April 2019

Africa: AFCON 2019 - Corentin Martins - "We Must Confirm Mauritania's Potential"

Your team will face Tunisia, Mali and Angola, how do you feel about that draw of the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2019?

Corentin Martins: Angola is supposed to be weaker because we played against them during the qualifiers. However, in four years, it's one of the best teams I've seen. Therefore, We will have to be careful. Tunisia and Mali are used to playing the CAN.

How do you approach the competition?

We don't have any preference, we'll take the teams in front of us with pleasure and try to do our best to win as many games as possible.

How do you explain Mauritania's qualification for its first AFCON?

The victory for our first game in Botswana was important. In the double confrontation with Angola, we were able to react at home to win and pave the way for a qualification, which we did by beating Botswana again. That game was difficult to prepare, people saw us already qualified before we even played. There was a lot of happiness for the Mauritanian people at the end.

You have succeeded in placing Mauritania among the top nations in West Africa.

We are among the top 24 teams qualified for the AFCOM, but we have to keep it that way. Confirming is more difficult and we must continue to progress.

Is the success of the Mourabitounes also the success of the development of local football?

In the future, Mauritania will have quality teams because the work done by the President and the National Technical Director is bearing fruit. When I arrived four years ago, there was only a first division championship. We have had first and second division championships for two years now. Not to mention the U19, U17, U15, women's teams. It's extraordinary. Next year, we even start a U13 championship. Few countries in Africa have its opportunities there. These youth championships will feed into national teams and even the A team.

Are Mauritanian talents better exported?

It was difficult but it is better. Mauritania was poorly ranked in the FIFA rankings and poorly represented in international competitions. Two CHAN qualifications and one for the AFCON changed the situation. Four years ago, only six players on Team A played abroad for 17 local players. Today, it's the opposite with only 6 local players. The selection has really become a showcase.

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