A defeat and a victory. This was the record of Mauritius at the COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championship last year, but the goal will be quite different when they line-up at the 2019 event in Lusaka, Zambia from December 4-14.
This year, Mauritius have set a target to try and get out of the group stages and compete in their first semi-final in this age category. The Baby Club M has once again placed its trust in coaches Denis Dookee and Kersley Levrai, who will have the mission to allow the squad to aim higher.
Mauritius were drawn in Group B at this year’s championship with South Africa, Lesotho and Madagascar. This is the second year in a row that ‘Quadricolors’ will be facing the South Africans. Last year, Mauritius battled with the pace, tempo and organisation of their opponents before slipping to a 5-0 defeat. South Africa then took the trophy. Will things be different this year?
“We learned a lot from our last participation, and we have a very talented group. I am satisfied with the work that has been done so far,” says Dookee.
Mauritius will face South Africa on December 5 at the Sunset Stadium. After this first outing, they will then play against Lesotho, an opponent they will feel they can match.
In the final match in Group B, Mauritius will go head-to-head with Madagascar in a clash between two teams of the Indian Ocean.
As the margin for qualification is small, with only the top team in each group and the best runner-up advancing to the semifinals, each point gained will be worth its weight in gold.
As preparation, the Mauritius Under-20s will play in the National First Division and took part in the double confrontation with Zimbabwe in the preliminary round of the qualifiers for the African Nations Championship.
“We are confident that we can get out of the group stage, but it will be difficult,” adds Dookee, himself former defender of the senior team of Mauritius.
By Benoit Thomas