Amir Abdou, the magician of Mauritania

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Mauritania had played two CHAN and two CAN, without winning a single match. It’s done after their victory at CHAN 2023 against Mali 1-0. A journey that bears the mark of Amir Abdou, the Comorian coach of the Mourabitounes. The 50-year-old technician hopes that his magic formula will continue to operate this Friday for the quarter-finals against Senegal.

From our special envoy in Algiers,

« I promise, I am not a magician! (laughs)”. In the pre-match press conference, Amir Abdou of course did not reveal the secrets of his tricks, as eloquent as they are. With a smirk behind his small round glasses, the Comorian coach knows that he has just succeeded once again: qualifying Mauritania for the first time for the second round of a continental competition. And to achieve this, a key word, a little magical: ” It’s work ! When I took the reins of Mauritania, I knew that there was potential at the level of the players “, he details. A potential that he observes closely, he who trains FC Nouadhibou on a daily basis, a port club north of Nouakchott, and the main breeding ground for the Mourabitounes squad (six out of eleven starters in the victory against Mali were players from Nouadhibou).

« We remain very, very far from other championships in terms of level, but we know that there is quality, he points out. They are raw players, there is everything to do with them because they have not received any training. In Senegal, for example, young people are well trained because there are many academies. We don’t! So there is a lot to do. Fortunately, my players are very receptive to what I ask of them, and I am constantly behind them. Which requires a lot of energy and a lot more work. »

A series of 15 games without defeat

Work as the watchword, and a job well done so far: in fifteen games with Mauritania, whether with selection A or the local team, Amir Abdou has not lost a single one. A great series with a “small” footballing country, which recalls what the technician did exactly a year ago with the Comoros: after having qualified the Cœlacanthes for a very first CAN, the coach, a native of Marseille, the had led to the round of 16. ” With the Comoros, too, we managed to write a great story. I had this selection for eight years. When you look at the world map, you don’t see the Comoros, but we went to the round of 16 of CAN. And there, it’s the same, we write our history with Mauritania. And we don’t want to stop there! ».

If ten years ago Mauritania had never participated in any major competition, local football has since awakened: two CHAN (in 2014 and 2018), two CAN (2019 and 2022), and here it is now the Mourabitounes at the gates of the last four of this CHAN 2023. This will require beat Senegal this Friday night in Annaba, in eastern Algeria. No doubt the magician Amir Abdou has kept a few tricks up his sleeve

The quarter-final table

January 27: Algeria-Ivory Coast, 4 p.m. in Baraki / Senegal-Mauritania, 7 p.m. in Annaba

January 28: Madagascar-Mozambique, 4 p.m. in Constantine / Niger-Ghana, 7 p.m. in Oran

CHAN 2023: schedule and results of the African Nations Football Championship


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