Mauritania, a country in northwest Africa covered almost completely by the Sahara desert, came from behind to beat Botswana 2-1 with two goals from Ismael Diakite.
It means a nation that waited 17 years after its first international game for its first win will finally play among the continent’s best teams next June and July.
13 OF 24 PLACES SETTLED
Mauritania is one of 13 countries to have now qualified for an expanded 24-team Cup of Nations hosted by Cameroon. Eight of them qualified this weekend, the penultimate round of games, led by former champions Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Algeria.
Nigeria is back at the tournament — for the first time since it won the title in 2013 — after a 1-1 draw with South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday. A Nigerian state governor promised the team $25,000 for every goal in the crucial game but one was enough as Nigeria secured the point it needed to guarantee it one of the two qualifying places from the group.
Qualified countries so far:
Ivory Coast ??
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