European Under-17 Championship winner Issa Samba picks Mauritania

By Mohamed Fajah BarrieBBC Sport, Sierra Leone
Issa Samba in action for France at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup
Issa Samba has decided to play for Mauritania after helping France win the 2015 Under-17 European Championships

Issa Samba has become the latest France youth international to commit to playing for an African nation at senior level as he chooses Mauritania.

Samba, who helped France win the 2015 European Under-17 Championship, is in Mauritania's squad for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Botswana.

The 20-year-old defender was born in France but is of Mauritanian descent

He also featured for France at Under-18 level but has not played a senior competitive international for them.

Samba played at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup in Chile as well and currently plays for French Ligue 2 side Auxerre as right back.

French coach Corentin Martins knows a win in Nouakchott on 18 November will see Mauritania qualify for the Nations Cup for the first time in their history.

The list includes key players such as defender Abdoul Ba, midfielders El Hacen El Id and Diallo Guidileye and forwards Adama Ba, Ismael Diakite and Khalil Bessam.

Mauritania recorded a 1-0 away win to Botswana in their opening fixture of the qualifiers in June last year.

The West Africa country are top of Group I with nine points, while Burkina Faso have seven points followed by Angola with six points and Botswana, who are out of contention, have just one point.

Mauritania squad:

Goalkeepers: Souleimane Brahim (FC Nouadhibou), Boubacar Salahdin (FC Tevragh-Zeïna), Namori Diaw (ASC Kedia)

Defenders: Abdoul Ba (Auxerre, France), Bakary Ndiaye (Difaa Hassani El Jadida, Morocco), Saly Sarr (Servette, Switzerland), Diadie Diarra (Sedan, France), Hamza Jawar and El Mostapha Diaw (Nouakchott King's), Aly Abeid (Alcorcón, Spain), Abdelkader Thiam (Orleans, France), Issa Samba (Auxerre, France)

Midfielders: Hassen El ID (Valladolid, Spain), Khassa Camara (AO Xanthi, Greece), Mohamed Dellah Yali (FC Tevragh-Zeïna), Dialo Guidilèye (Keşlə FK, Azerbaijan), Abdoulaye Gaye (FC Nouadhibou), Alassane Diop (Hajer FC, Saudi Arabia).

Fowards: Adama Ba (Giresunspor, Turkey), Ismael Diakite (US Tataouine, Tunisia), Mamadou Niass (Salam Zgharta, Lebanon), Khalil Moulaye Ahmed Bessam (AS Gabes, Tunisia), Abdallahi Soudani (AS Gabes, Tunisia), Homeye Tanjy (FC Nouadhibou)

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