The Mongolian Football Federation announced today that the senior men's national team will compete in two friendly matches during the March 2018 international matchday window. The first will be against Malaysia in Kuala Lampur on 22 March with the team returning home to face Mauritius in Ulaanbaatar on 27 March.
Malaysia, currently ranked 175th in the FIFA World Rankings, will face Mongolia for the first time at the senior level in Mongolia's third-ever official friendly.
Mongolia will make history in more than one way as the host Mauritius on 27 March. Not only will the match mark the first time that Mongolia has hosted an international friendly but it will also be the nation's first match against a non-Asian opponent.
The tiny African republic has a population of approximately 1.3 million residents on the island nestled in Indian Ocean.
Despite the nation's size and obscurity, its latest squad featured players currently with clubs in England, France, and Germany in addition to the domestic league. Perhaps the team's most recognizable player is Kévin Bru who currently plays for Ipswich Town.
Mauritius has apparently been attempting to raise its international profile of late. In addition to the match against Mongolia, they faced India and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the 2017 Hero Tri-Nation Series. The team finished in last place after losing to hosts India and drawing 1-1 with their Caribbean opponents in their second match.
Because both nations are ranked above Mongolia in the FIFA rankings, it will be an opportunity for the nation to gain significant points in the standings.
In addition to helping with the FIFA standings, Mongolia head coach Michael Weiss stated that friendlies will provide the team with international experience and serve as preparation for the next cycle of EAFF Championship qualification, providing further suggestion that qualification will begin in summer 2018.