Mauritius have won just a single FIFA World Cup™ qualifier but will be hoping to better that achievement when they compete in the qualifiers for the 2010 finals in South Africa.
They have been drawn in the same group with Cameroon, the Cape Verde Islands and Tanzania, handing veteran coach Ashok Chundasing a tough assignment on his return to the helm of the team.
It was in the African pre-preliminary qualifying rounds for the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 that the Indian Ocean islanders recorded their debut victory when they edged Uganda 3-1 in Curepipe. The bad news is that the result was not good enough to take them to the next round.
What made the 4-3 aggregate loss so much more painful was that the islanders did incredibly well to claw their way back into the tie after losing the first leg in Kampala 3-0. Goals by Ricardo Naboth, Cyril Mourgine and Jerry Louis' last-minute strike ensured the match went into extra-time, but with only a few minutes on the clock, David Obua scored the golden goal for Uganda.
Mauritius first entered the qualifying rounds for a FIFA World Cup back in 1974, going down 3-1 in Kenya before holding the east Africans to a 1-1 draw in the return leg. The next time they competed at the highest level was ahead of Mexico 1986, when Malawi proved too strong, winning both matches. Zaire was the stumbling block in qualifying for France 1998, while Egypt got the better of Mauritius in the qualifying competition for Korea/Japan 2002.
And although Mauritius were knocked out again at the first hurdle in 2003, they will take some comfort from the fact that not only did they win their first FIFA World Cup match, they also came within a Golden Goal of advancing to the second round.
Everyone in the country will be hoping for better things ahead of South Africa 2010.