Mauritania, a largely desert state that have never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, are among 15 countries who could secure places at the 2019 tournament this weekend.
A team guided by French coach Corentin Martins will be assured of a top-two finish in Group I and qualification if they defeat bottom side Botswana in Nouakchott.
The Mauritanians, whose squad includes players from local clubs, other African countries, Europe and the Middle East, enjoy several psychological advantages over their opponents.
They travelled to the southern Africa nation for the first round of qualifying in June last year and won 1-0 through an Abdallahi Soudani goal.
While Mauritania have won three of four games in a group completed by Burkina Faso and Angola, Botswana have lost three, drawn one, and not scored a single goal in 360 minutes. Read more