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5 things you should know about Mauritania

Bafana lost 3-1 to Mauritania on Saturday night in the Afcon qualifiers.

FILE: Bafana Bafana midfielder Mandla Masango. Picture: Twitter ‏@Real_Mandande.

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana suffered a shock 3-1 defeat to Mauritania on Saturday night in the Afcon qualifiers.

The performance some have dubbed the worst by a Bafana side started going south as early as the fifth minute, with captain Itumeleng Khune fluffing a regulation save from a free kick, handing the host an early lead, which is just what they would have wanted.

A victory for the host but for Bafana it's a result that leaves their qualification campaign in tatters.

EWN compiled five things you should know about Mauritania:

1) Mauritania is NOT Mauritius.

In fact, it's not even close to Mauritius. We know their names sound similar, but they're not neighbours. Here's a map to help you. The country is situated in the Maghreb region of western North Africa.

2) Mauritania is 6,766km away from South Africa and it's the 14th largest country in Africa.

3) Mauritania is ranked 114th on Fifa's current rankings. The highest ranking they've achieved is 85th, which they reached in 1995. South African has also at some stage reached 85th, a record low ranking. Should the current poor performance continue, they will find themselves back there again, with a current ranking at 72.

4) Mauritania's total population is around 4.1 million. That is less than the population of Limpopo (5.4 million, according to Census 2011) but more than the population of the North West (3.5 million).

5) In 2009 and 2011, Mauritania played NO official matches, including international friendlies, while South Africa played a combined 29 matches in 2009 and 2011.

After a four-year period in which Mauritania played a mere four matches, sitting out the qualifiers for the 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil and playing no games at all in 2009 or 2011, they had just three ranking points to their name, with only Bhutan, San Marino and Turks and Caicos Islands sitting below them. South Africa played a combined 29 matches in 2009 and 2011.

So Bafana lost its most important match against a team that didn't see action for close to two years...