National Team - Lions ● Sep 04, 2018
Opponent Spotlight: Mauritius
(AFP PHOTO/NICOLAS LARCHE)
SINGAPORE, 4 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Ahead of Singapore’s friendly against Mauritius this Friday, 7 September, we take a look at our opponents…
FIFA Ranking: 155
Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)
Sub-confederation: Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA)
Nickname: Club M, The Dodos
Head Coach: Francisco Filho
SET IN THE SEA An island nation like Singapore, Mauritius is roughly three times the size of the Lion City. The country is located in the Indian Ocean around 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent and the population numbers around 1.4 million. English and French are the main languages.
MANCHESTER LINKS Their National Team is currently led by Brazilian Francisco Filho, who was appointed in early August 2017. The 77-year-old former professional player worked under Sir Alex Ferguson as a youth coach at Manchester United and succeeded Joe Tshupula in the Mauritius hot seat.
The Sao-Paolo born Filho has overseen nine matches, winning three and drawing one. One of those wins came in an upset COSAFA Cup victory in May against Malawi, though Mauritius lost their next two matches against Angola (1-0) and Botswana (6-0) and were eliminated in the group stages.
Tickets are available from fas.org.sg/tickets and onsite on match-days. Fans are urged to buy their tickets early online to avoid the queues on match-day.
VIOLENCE Football took a hit in 1999 due to rioting after a match between Scouts Club and Fire Brigade Sports Club. With club allegiances heavily dependent on race and religion, angry supporters of Scouts – a Muslim side – caused riots after a controversial penalty was awarded to their opponents, a Roman Catholic side. The riots lasted three days and claimed seven casualties, which resulted in all domestic football being suspended for 18 months and only the National Team allowed to play during this period.
PLAYING BALL Mauritius played in the Indian Ocean Games Triangulaire every year with Reunion and Madagascar from 1947 to 1958 and one last time in 1963, winning ten titles. Thereafter, they participated in the Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG), created by the International Olympic Committee and held every four years. Apart from the above two countries, the IOIG also sees participation from Seychelles, Comoros, Mayotte and Maldives. Mauritius has won two IOIG football titles, in 1985 and 2003.
At a wider international level, Mauritius plays in the COSAFA Cup annually and have reached the quarter-finals twice (2001 and 2004) – their best-ever finishes. They qualified for the African Nations Cup once in 1974 and have never qualified for a FIFA World Cup.
From a high of 118 in 2000, Les Dodos plunged to their worst ever FIFA ranking of 202 in 2012 but have slowly improved since then and they are berthed at 155 as of 16 August – 14 spots above the Lions.
Football is not a professional sport in Mauritius and players in the 10-team Mauritian Premier League (MPL) usually hold another job. Fire Brigade SC and FC Dodo have each won a record 13 MPL titles, with Pamplemousses SC recently winning their second consecutive league crown and fourth overall in the 38th edition that concluded in May.
TEAM Twenty nine players were initially called up by Filho for their Southeast Asian trip, which includes the game against Singapore as well as a friendly against Indonesia on 11 September.
Of the 29, only 18 made the eventual squad, with depletion through injuries or work commitments.
Forward Andy Sophie, who appears to be their all-time top international scorer, has missed out. Midfielder Kevin Bru, who plays for Cypriot top-flight side Apollon Limassol – they finished second last season – is also unavailable due to injury.
Defender Lindsay Rose is arguably their most high-profile player. The 26-year-old plies his trade with Ligue 2 side FC Lorient and made his international debut earlier this year. Midfielder Adel Langue is also another one to watch – the 20-year-old signed a one-year contract with La Liga outfit Deportivo Alaves last month, becoming the first ever Mauritian player to sign for a Spanish top flight team.
Other players who are based abroad include forward Jonathan Justin, who left French sixth-tier side Toulouse MFC in July and striker Gary Noel, who plays for German fourth-tier side SC Weiche Flensburg.
Eight players are 23 years of age or below, including two players from the team that reached the semi-finals of the COSAFA Under-17 Championships in July – goalkeeper Emilio Capricieux and defender Jean Francois. Midfielder Kevin Perticots, who plays for champions Pamplemousses, already has close to 30 caps at the tender age of 22.
Fandi has already sparred with Mauritius, albeit at youth level. Last March, he led the National Under-20 side in a friendly against the hosts’ U-21 team, which ended in a 2-1 loss.
- The majority of football fans in Mauritius follow the English Premier League and there is at least one Premier League side that has been there for pre-season – Tottenham Hotspur in 2005.
- Jonathan Justin played in Singapore for a season in 2011 with French side Etoile FC.
Goalkeepers: Emilio Capricieux, Kevin Jean-Louis.
Defenders: Jean-Fabrice Augustin, Jean Francois, Lindsay Rose, Jonathan Speville, Walter St Martin, Jean Jocelyn.
Midfielders: Fabrice Brasse, Adel Langue, Louis Martinet, Jean Patate, Francis Rasolofonirina, Kevin Perticots, Jeremy Villeneuve.
Forwards: Jonathan Justin, Jean Nabab, Gary Noel.