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Madagascar qualifies for the next Africa Cup of Nations

Why it's so strange? It had never happened before

Madagascar qualifies for the next Africa Cup of Nations Why it's so strange? It had never happened before

October 16 is one of those days that will become red marked on the calendar of the Madagascar island's inhabitants: the National football team has just obtained a historic pass for the AFCON 2019, the biggest continental tournament that will start next January in Cameroon and one of the most characteristic and unpredictable competitions in the world. That of Madagascar is a real fairy tale, of those that happen once in a lifetime: it had never happened in any of the past 31 editions, and often Madagascar had even abandoned the long qualification process halfway through the way.

More famous for the beaches, for the thick colony of lemurs that populate the island and lately for penguins of the animated film released in 2015, Madagascar currently occupies the 107th position the FIFA ranking and is in the 46th coefficient place in Africa, even behind the National squads of much smaller countries like Seychelles and Burundi. Perhaps you do not know it, but Madagascar has a population of over 25 million. The national nicknamed Barea because of that species of sacred cow that appears in the crest had to win a first playoff against Sao Tome and then battle in Group A against Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan. Step by step the team coached by the French Dupois managed to find his alchemy, so as to remain unbeaten until today's clash, played today and ended 1-0 against Equatorial Guinea (far from the usual stadium of Antananarivo but in Vontovorona). 10 points against only 3 with two matches to play s sufficient to make vain the return game against Senegal (the first leg was 2-2), operation completed!

It's almost obvious that the footballers are perfect strangers, first and foremost the match-winner of the last match, Neiva Rakotoharimalala, current striker of the Sukhothai, Thai team. In reality many other protagonists play in Europe, and almost all in the minor French divisions: in common they also have the fact of being fast and practically unpronounceable (and therefore also very difficult to write). Any name? Captain Faneva Andriatsima plays in Clermont, Lahaina Nomenjanahary in Paris FC, Zostera Randriambololona is currently in Belgium, on loan from Nice. Learn to get used to the idea: in the next African Cup there will be also them.