Madagascar picked their first ever win at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Thursday evening after beating Burundi 1-0 in a Group B clash at the Alexandria Stadium.
The win was not only special because it took them just one point close to a historic place in the round of 16, but also because it came just a day after the country celebrated its 59th Independence Day.
There were mixed feelings for the Mauritanian players and head coach Nicolas Dupuis as just a day earlier, tens of people were killed in a stampede at the country’s official Independence Day celebrations.
“I could not help but think about all the people back at home when I scored that goal... my family infront of the TV I know they were watching and celebrating. I don’t think I can explain this feeling,” midfielder Marco Ilaimaharitra said.
He added; “It is wonderful for the country wonderful for the people of Madagascar and a historic moment for us. It was a great thing coming just a day after we celebrated the Independence Day and I cannot think of a better gift to the people than this.”
His sentiments were shared by teammate Anicet Andrianantenaina who however cautioned his teammates that the work was not done yet.
“It is a historic moment for us to get the first victory in this competition. The whole country was watching and waiting on us to make them happy. We are delighted for this. We are like a family here. People don’t believe in us but I believe in the team. We have the quality to do well,”