The team from the world’s fourth largest island has reached the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations
Shortly before the African Cup of Nations began the magazine France Football gathered together a handful of coaches taking a team to this tournament for the first time. One of them was Madagascar’s Nicolas Dupuis and at the end of this tête-à-tête he had a message for his fellow coaches: “Do not underestimate Madagascar, friends,” he said.
It was a nice touch. But in reality people had not bothered to estimate Malagasy football ever since the national team was formed in 1947. The world’s fourth-largest island, famously rich in wildlife and poor in financial health, has never been a hotbed for sporting achievement. Qualifying for this Afcon has in itself been historic. They never even entered the first seven editions when they got up and running. Then it was a tale of failed qualifications, withdrawing from even trying, and not entering in the first place, such was the shaky infrastructure of football in Madagascar, despite it being one of the most popular sports.
Source: Football News
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