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AFCON 2021: Mauritania includes 16-year-old ‘prodigy’ in provisional squad

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French coach Didier Gomes da Rosa, who took over last November from his compatriot Corentin Martins as Mauritania coach, released on Thursday a provisional 30-players squad for the upcoming AFCON, Cameroon 2021.

AS Douanes young midfielder Beyatt Lekweiry was the squad surprise, as the 16-years-old became the youngest player in Gomes selection.

The teenager has grown accustomed to skipping stages, having been selected for the Mauritania U-20 national team at the age of 15, when he played in the U-20 Arab Cup in Saudi Arabia in 2020.

However, his progress was hampered by a serious injury that did not allow him to take part in the TotalEnergies U-20 AFCON that took place in Mauritania last February – March.

At 16, this is a good promotion for the young midfielder to be included in the provisional squad, that will be reduced to 28 players on December 28.

Besides Beyatt, Da Rosa gave a debut call to three more players. They are Pape Ibnou Ba, French Le Havre forward, Souleymane Doukara (Giresunspor Kulubu, Turkey) and defender Souleymane Karamako (Nancy, France).

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Apart from the new faces, the French coach, who led the Mourabitounes during the FIFA Arab World Cup, recalled the regulars of captain Abdoul Ba and Adama Ba.

Mauritania play in AFCON 2021 Group F with Mali, Gambia and Tunisia.

This will be their second Africa Cup of Nations finals after that of 2019.

Provisional Squad:

Goalkeepers: Babacar Diop (FC Nouadhibou), Mbacké Ndiaye (Nouakchott Kings), Mohamed El Moktar (AS Douanes)

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Defenders: Bakary Ndiaye (AS Rhodes, Greece), Abdoul Ba (Al Ahli, Libya), Diadié Diarra (Goal FC, France), El Hassen Houbeibib (Al Zawaraa, Iraq), Harouna Abou Demba (Unattached), Souleymane Karamoko (Nancy, France), Aly Abeid (Valenciennes, France), Houssen Abderahmane (Royal Francs Borains, Belgium), Abdoulkader Thiam (US Boulogne, France)

Midfielders: Mohamed Dellah Yaly (Unattached), Guessouma Fofana (Cluj, Romania), Ibréhima Coulibaly (Le Mans, France), Yacoub Sidi (AS Vita, DR Congo), Khassa Camara (NorthEast United FC, India), Almike Moussa Ndiaye (Goal FC, France), Mohsen Bodda (FC Nouadhibou), Mahmoud Abdallahi (NK Istra, Croatia), Mohamed Soueid (FC Nouadhibou), Beyatt Lekweiry (AS Douanes)

Forwards: Aboubakar Kamara (Aris Thessaloniki, Greece), Hemeya Tanjy (FC Nouadhibou), Oumar Camara (Beroe Stara Zagora, Bulgaria), Adama Ba (RS Berkane, Morocco), Souleymane Doukara (Giresunspor Kulubu, Turkey), Idrissa Thiam (ASAC Concorde), Souleymane Anne (Royal Excelsior Virton, Belgium), Pape Ibnou Ba (Le Havre, France)

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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