Former Mauritius national team captain Denis Dookee has been named as head coach of the side that will compete at the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships in Kitwe, Zambia from December 2-14.
The ex-defender, who turned out most notably for Cercle de Joachim, is likely to call ion a number of players from the Under-17 age-group as he looks to develop a strong group of youngsters for the senior national team over the coming years.
“It will be difficult, but I know I’m capable,” Dookee says. “I have already started work and have gained experience. “I have the ability to have a great tournament with this group.”
Mauritius have been drawn in Group B at the finals and will face pool heavyweights South Africa in their opening match on December 3. Three days later they take on eSwatini, before rounding out their pool play against Namibia on December 8.
Only the top team in each pool and the best-placed runner-up advance to the semifinals.
Mauritius have shown some improvement at this age-group level in the recent past, though it continues to be a roller-coaster ride.
Having taken just a single point from six matches in the two tournaments before the 2016 showpiece event, they came within a whisker of reaching the knockout stages two years ago.
They needed to beat Angola in their final pool game to advance but were held to a 1-1 draw to end the campaign unbeaten with a win and two draws, their best showing to date in the competition.
But that was followed by disappointment in 2017 when they lost all three of their games without scoring a goal.
The Under-17 side that competed in the 2017 COSAFA tournament in that age-group, from which Dookee is likely to pull a number of players, excelled, reaching the final before losing to Zambia.