The thought of the host nation being eliminated from the group stages is a nightmare for Mauritania head coach Mauril Njoya and that will be his driving factor when the Mourabitounes take on Mozambique at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Wednesday.
A late strike from Sunday Jang, occasioned by a mix up in their backline saw Mauritania lose the opening match by a solitary goal to Cameroon. But despite the loss, the home side, and coach Njoya will pick positives heading into the second match as they look to resuscitate their dream of a knockout place.
A loss would mean fate is out of their hands as far as progressing to the quarter finals is concerned while victory will take them right back on track.
Coach Njoya is upbeat that his first-timers can pick victory especially looking at their performance against a seasoned Cameroon side in the opening day of the tournament.
They will once again tie their plan on their free-flowing football display and hope that forward Oumar Mbareck will be on form just as he was in the opening game where he was named man of the match after some flawless display in midfield.
One aspect of their game that Mauritania will need to improve heading into the duel against Mozambique is their striking as they had numerous chances against Cameroon, including two one-on-one situations that they didn’t utilize.
Mozambique, also first timers in the tournament are wary of facing the wrath of a wounded home team and coach Dario Monteiro affirmed as such, saying they know they will be facing a difficult side with pressure to win.
Against Uganda, the coach admitted they were second best to the East African Hippos but was quick to note they had picked their lessons and would come better in the second match of the tournament.
The Mambinhas, just like home side Mauritania have to win to ensure fate remains in their hands for a place in the quarter finals. A loss would mean they will have to win their last match against Cameroon and rely on results from other groups if they are to progress as one of the best two number three teams.