Madagascar becomes first African team to qualify for 2019 African Cup
Madagascar achieved unarguably the brightest moment in their footballing life after beating Equatorial Guinea 1-0 on Tuesday to qualify for Cameroon 2019 African Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon with two matches to spare.
Njiva Rakotoharimalala scored the only goal on 42 minutes to ensure the maximum point for Barea at the CNAPS Stadium in Vontovoronoa.
The victory saw the Barea move to 10 points in Group A, three more than Senegal who face Sudan later in Khartoum, and seven points more than third placed Equatorial Guinea. It means Madagascar are guaranteed at least second place finish in Group A and Cameroon 2019 ticket.
Chants of ‘Arabaina’ which means congratulations in the local Malagasy language was formed on the lips of the vociferous crowd at the stadium, who celebrated the historic moment.
The qualification for the Cameroon 2019 AFCON complete a fairy-tale run by the islanders who remain unbeaten in their campaign.
Led by Frenchman, Nicola Dupuis, ‘Barea’ registered wins over Sudan, Equatorial Guinea (back-to-back) and a draw against Senegal to achieve the historic feat.
The outcome of the two remaining matches against Senegal and Sudan will have no impact as Madagascar are destined to finish in the top two of Group which guarantees automatic qualification.
Equatorial Guinea who have three points and Sudan with zero point cannot catch up with the Barea’s in the group.
Qualification for Cameroon 2019 AFCON is expected to throw the streets of Antananarivo and other parts in the country into frenzy, after a similar mood when the Islanders won the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 in Seychelles.