Madagascar tackle Tunisia

11 July 2019 | Sports

Before the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) kicked off in Egypt last month, Madagascar were best known for the tongue-twisting surnames of their players such as Anicet Andrianantenaina and Charles Andriamahitsinoro.

Now, 20 days into the biennial tournament, the Indian Ocean islanders have stunned three-time champions Nigeria and are preparing to face Tunisia tonight a quarterfinal clash.

While French-born coach Nicolas Dupuis insists “the team is the star”, midfielder Andrianantenaina and forward Andriamahitsinoro have caught the eye.

Bulgaria-based Andrianantenaina was among the 11 footballers chosen by a Confederation of African Football (CAF) panel as the best in the 36-match group phase.

Andriamahitsinoro, who plays for a Saudi Arabian club, made the substitutes' list in the group 'dream team', and his two goals have put him in contention for the golden boot award.

“The coach is correct to say the team is the star and sometimes an individual will stand out when we need him to. That is our strength,” explained Andriamahitsinoro.

He stands out on the field because he has blond-dyed hair and is tall in a squad of mostly medium-height footballers.

Tunisia coach Alain Giresse says his first target of a last-eight place has been achieved, adding: “We are capable of lifting the trophy 15 years after doing so for the first time.”

Here, AFP Sport looks at today's last-eight matches as Algeria face the Ivory Coast in a clash of former champions, before Madagascar meet 2004 winners Tunisia.

The countries have met competitively only twice, with Tunisia winning 1-0 at home and 2-0 away in their 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Since then, Tunisia hosted and won a Cup of Nations, while Madagascar became so weak that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) went to Antananarivo three years ago and won a qualifier 6-1.

But while unimpressive Tunisia reached the quarterfinals with three draws and a penalty shootout win over Ghana, Madagascar have blossomed.

Apart from the 2-0 triumph over African powerhouse Nigeria, they defeated fellow debutants Burundi and held Guinea and DR Congo playing eye-pleasing football.

Should Madagascar eliminate the vastly more experienced Tunisia, they will become the first Cup of Nations debutants since South Africa in 1996 to reach the semi-finals.

Tonight's other quarterfinal clash extends one of the great rivalries in the tournament, with the Ivorian Elephants winning three and the Algerian Desert Foxes two of their seven previous meetings.

When they last met, in a 2015 quarterfinal, Ivory Coast triumphed 3-1, with Serey Die a part of the winning team, while the losing line-up included Riyad Mahrez.

The midfielders, who have contrasting roles, with Die primarily a destroyer and Mahrez a creator, captain the teams in Suez four years later.

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi believes his team, the only survivors with a 100% record in Egypt, can go all the way, saying: “It does not cost anything to be ambitious.”

Rival coach Ibrahim Kamara is saying little during this Cup of Nations, while a side boasting star attackers like Nicolas Pepe, Jonathan Kodjia and Wilfried Zaha are yet to sparkle.

NAMPA/AFP

Similar News

 

Stars to host tourney

13 hours ago | Sports

African Stars will be hosting a tournament this weekend in the capital at the Sam Nujoma Stadium from Friday to Sunday. The tournament will see...

Desert Jewels blow away Cook Islands

13 hours ago | Sports

The Desert Jewels caused a storm in the Pacific by beating favourites Cook Islands 61-47 in their third match at the M1 Nations Cup that...

Golden girl returns

13 hours ago | Sports

Namibia's golden girl Johanna Benson, who last ran competitively in March last year in South Africa at the Nedbank National Championships, is set to return...

Mbidi loses defamation battle

13 hours ago | Sports

Former Namibia Football Association (NFA) president Frans Mbidi's bid to sue Roger Kambatuku, the former chairman of the NFA ad hoc committee, has failed. Mbidi...

Basketballers eye 2024 Olympics

1 day - 22 October 2019 | Sports

STAFF REPORTER Namibia’s 3x3 national basketball team recently competed in Doha, Qatar at the 2019 World Beach Games, also known as the ANOC World...

Peyper triggers scorn for 'mocking' red card

1 day - 22 October 2019 | Sports

Japan Rugby World Cup referee Jaco Peyper has sparked anger after posing for a photo with Welsh fans in which he appeared to mimic the...

Desert Jewels impress

1 day - 22 October 2019 | Sports

Namibia will face Cook Islands in their third match at the ongoing M1 Nations Cup in Singapore at 11:00 today.“Our plan is to go out...

'Beast Master' falls short

1 day - 22 October 2019 | Sports

Vikapita 'Beast Master' Meroro lost an international cruiserweight 10-round title fight by unanimous decision to South Africa's Akani 'Prime' Phuzi at the Blair Gowrie Recreation...

'Stop illegal fights'

1 day - 22 October 2019 | Sports

Chairperson of the Ohangwena Boxing Federation (OBF) Israel Hamutumbangela says an upcoming boxing event, slated for the end of this month at Helao Nafidi, is...

Samaria's future still up in the air

1 day - 22 October 2019 | Sports

The Fifa normalisation committee is remaining mum on whether Brave Warriors interim coach Bobby Samaria will get the nod to coach the national team on...

Latest News

Drownings sour rain relief

13 hours ago | Accidents

Life-giving rainfall in the north has led to two schoolboys drowning in Oshana on Monday. A Chinese national also drowned on Sunday at the Olushandja/Etaka...

Upbeat Calle preaches recovery

13 hours ago | Economics

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein says the domestic economy is projected to gradually emerge from the recession in 2020 with a moderate growth rate of about...

Shanghala plays the artful dodger

13 hours ago | Politics

CATHERINE SASMAN Justice minister Sacky Shanghala, who is alleged to have booked out electronic voting machines (EVMs) that have been missing since...

The value of relevance

13 hours ago | Business

Chantell Husselmann - The conceptual framework for financial reporting states, in order for information to be useful it must both be relevant and provide a...

ACC probes exam 'cheating'

13 hours ago | Health

The Health Professions Council of Namibia (HPCNA) has roped in the services of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate allegations that cheating had rocked the...

O&L/Dinapama deal commendable

13 hours ago | Columns

The Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group recently procured casual corporate golf shirts for its 6 000 employees from local manufacturer Dinapama. This is no ordinary...

Stable Botswana to vote in...

13 hours ago | Economics

Susan Njanji - Botswana votes today in the most closely fought general election in the history of the Southern African country, long known as...

Geingob off to Sochi

13 hours ago | International

President Hage Geingob has left for Russia to attend the first session of the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi tomorrow.The summit is expected to be attended...

Life for plotting husband's murder

13 hours ago | Justice

Rachel Rittmann (49), who arranged the murder of her husband Rudolph Rittmann (34) for financial gain and freedom to continue a love affair, was sentenced...

Load More