Madagascar will be featuring in their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament. They are one of three nations that will be making their debut at this year’s tournament.
In the 2019 edition, Madagascar is in Group B alongside Nigeria, Guinea and Burundi.
Madagascar made its debut in 1947 in a home match against Mauritius which was lost 2–1. The game was part of a Triangulaire tournament between Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion. Madagascar’s second match was at home to Reunion and saw their first ever win, 4–2. The triangular tournament was staged every year until 1958, and Madagascar’s highest-scoring game was on 13 July 1953 when they beat Reunion 6–4 at home. Their worst loss was on 31 July 1952 when they lost 7–0 to Mauritius in Reunion.
Madagascar played against opposition different from Mauritius or Reunion for the first time in 1960, as part of a tournament between French-speaking nations held on the island. In their first match on 15 April 1960 they beat the Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) 6–1. The second game was a quarter-final against France’s amateur side on 17 April and was lost 2–1. On 19 April Madagascar beat the Congo 8–1 in the third-place play-off.
In April 1963, Madagascar entered another competition for French-speaking countries, this time in Senegal, and was placed in a group with Dahomey (now Benin), Liberia and Chad. They opened with a 1–0 win over Dahomey on 11 April, and then beat Chad 2–1 on 13 April and Liberia 3–1 on 15 April. In the semi-finals, Madagascar were beaten 2–1 by Tunisia on 19 April, and then lost 4–1 to France’s amateur team in the third-place play-off on 21 April.
In September 1963 the Triangulaire between Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius was reinstated for the first time since 1958. On 15 September they beat Reunion 6–1 at home, and on 18 September drew 1–1 to Mauritius in a home game which was abandoned.
For AFCON, Madagascar did not enter into qualification for the first 7 editions (1957-1970).
They went on to try their luck in both 1792 and 74 but fell short at the first attempt, hence not reaching the finals. For the 76 edition, the Barea decided to withdraw from the qualifiers.
From 1980 to 88, Madagascar once again tried but failed to make it to the 5 tournaments before withdrawing from qualification in 1990.
The trend continued until 1998 when they were banned from the qualifiers for withdrawing in 1996.
From the qualifiers of the 2000 edition, Madagascar have always fallen short until those of Egypt 2019.
The Barea started them qualification process in the preliminary round where they defeated Sao Tome and Principe 4-2 on aggregate, winning the first leg 1-0 and then taking the second 2-3.
In the groups, they were placed in Group A alongside Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan.
In their first game away to Sudan, they ran out 3-1 winners before drawing 2-2 with Senegal in the second. At this point, the Barea sat second on the table, only a goal behind leaders Senegal.
Two consecutive victories over Equatorial Guinea meant that Madagascar went into the last two games knowing that if results elsewhere go their way, they would seal a first-ever appearance at the finals’ tournament.
The achievement would then go on to be sealed on the final day despite losing both of the last two games. First, they lost 1-3 at home to Sudan and then lost 2-0 in Dakar.
The 10 points accumulated throughout the group stages, meant that Madagascar qualified for the finals as group runners ups.
Dupuis is a 51-year-old former French footballer who has been the head coach of Madagascar since 2017.
In August 1996, Dupuis was appointed manager of AS Yzeure. During Dupuis’ time at the club, Yzeure reached the Championnat National in 2006 as well as beating Ligue 1 club Lorient 1–0 in the 2013-14 Coupe de France on 4 January 2014, before losing to Lyon 3–1 on 22 January 2014 in the round of 32.
In March 2017, Dupuis was appointed manager of Madagascar. On 16 October 2018, Madagascar qualified for the AFCON finals as Dupuis made history for being the first coach to lead the Barea to Africa’s football showpiece.
In January 2019 it was announced that he would combine his role as Madagascar manager with that as technical director of French club FC Fleury 91. In March 2019 Madagascar extended his contract until after the AFCON tournament.
Feneva Ima Andriatsima
Andriatsima, 35, is a striker who plays as a forward for French side Clermont Foot.
Andriatsima was born in the Malagasy capital, Antananarivo and began his football career at homeland club AS St-Michel. In 2004, he joined USCA Foot and scored 45 goals in 60 appearances for his new side.
In 2007, he made the switch to French Ligue 2, where he joined FC Nantes. On 7 January 2008, he joined Championnat National side AS Cannes on loan, for the remainder of the season, here played 16 games and scores 4 goals.
In June 2008 Andriatsima joined side US Boulogne in the French second tier, again on loan, for the 2008–09 season. He was given the number nine shirt. On 11 July 2009, he left Nantes and signed for Amiens SC.
In 2016, he moved to Sochaux, then Le Havre and then Clermont since 2018.
Andriatsima has scored over 120 club goals and 12 in 33 games for Madagascar.
Projection: Second Round
Guinea Fixtures at AFCON 2019
-Guinea vs Madagascar, 22nd June
-Madagascar vs Burundi, 27th June
-Madagascar vs Nigeria, 30th June