Source: www.africanakua.com | Napoleon Ato Kittoe, Ghana
Madagascar is nowhere near the elite of football. She is more in the news about political musical chairs. The country is easily identifiable though, on the map as the huge island to the South-East of the African continent.
The country makes its debut to the African Football mundial currently in Egypt, and it surpasses expectations, no matter how modest the journey has been so far. A quarter final berth, having beaten DR Congo in a penalty shootout, as they drew 2-2 in extra time.
In its unsung status, Madagascar has been unassuming but stealth in the art of putting opponents to the sword. Until the giant killing feat of beating Nigeria 2-0 on its way up, no one gave Madagascar the dogs chance. Now, the supposed minnows of the game, looks like roaring lions. With that bold statement, they have their heads up, zooming to the afcon quarter finals at expense of DR Congo, twice African Champions.
Unknown quantity as they are, the temptation to take things for granted on Madagascar has proved to be the undoing of any opposition. Now that their identity is thrust to the fore, know that Madagascar is a well-drilled side. The team passes the ball well and has the knack for scoring. The team’s players are widely dispersed across great football nations, thus well exposed.
It did not take too long for Madagascar to draw blood and for DR Congo to bruise, when the former hit the back of the net first, results pulling even before the end of first half.
A low header restored the lead in second half yet DR Congo ignited a fighting spirit that saw another powerful header to a corner, levelling the scores on 90 minutes.
Madagascar with its national, the CAF President Ahmad Ahmad and the Republic’s President Marc Rajoelina both at the stadium, the side had the tonic to conjure something extraordinary. This, exemplified in the precision and confidence with which Madagascar dispatched the kicks during the shootout.
That wouldn’t have counted, had DR Congo not placed the spectators at receiving end of some of its kicks. The opportunities hung at the porch, knocked at the door, one invited them in, the other repelled the fortune.