Mauritanian forward Hemeya Tanji has dedicated his TotalEnergies Man of the Match Award to every Mauritanian across the world.
The FC Nouadhibou forward inspired his side’s historic qualification to the quarterfinals of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Tuesday.
“Winning this award is an honour for me and the people of Mauritania. I am as happy as any football fan from Mauritania. This is a win for all the people of Mauritania,” Tanji said with an ear-to-ear smile on his face in the post-match press conference at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran, Algeria.
Tanji was the inspiration with and without the ball, continuously making runs upfront to trouble the Malian defense while also falling deep to regain possession and supply the forward line. His tireless runs were an important aspect in the well-organized Mauritanian side that played a balanced game against a talented Malian outfit.
This is the first victory registered by the Lions of Chinguetti who previously recorded six losses in six games at the CHAN and forced Angola to a goalless draw in their Group E opener.
The 24-year-old Tanji further added that “We worked so hard to come to this tournament and now that we have qualified, we are so happy that we have won and we shall be in the quarterfinals. We prepared a lot to reach this point and now we can continue dreaming at this tournament. This is massive for us as a team.”
Mauritania will now face neighbours Senegal in the second quarterfinal on 27 January at the 19 May 1956 Stadium in Annaba at 1900 GMT.