After an impressive group B stage game display by the Madagascar national football team, nicknamed ‘Barea‘ (a species of Zebu that is depicted on the country’s coat of arms), the incumbent president Andry Rajoelina has chartered a special plane to take football fans to Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations after qualifying to the round of 16.
Rinah Rakotomanga, the head of communications for the presidency in a statement said, “After hearing the demands of supporters, President Andry Rajoelina and the Madagascan state have decided to mobilise an Airbus 380, with 480 seats, to transport supporters.”
Former opposition MP Guy Rivo Randrianarisoa made a plea to the president after he had announced that he would attend the match, “Do not go alone to Egypt President Andry Rajoelina, there are supporters who are ready to fill a plane and the empty stadium.”
However, the flight that is set to leave Antananarivo on Saturday and return immediately after the gamewill not be for free, tickets cost about $600 (530 euros) which includes the flight, meals and a seat at the match.
The Indian ocean island nation (ranked 108th) are among the debutants for this year’s extended 24 teAfrican continental showpiece, they surprisingly beat 3-times AFCON winner and favourites Nigeria 2 : 1 to go on top of the log.
They have been the surprise package on their Afcon debut, Lalaina Nomenjanahary stunned Nigeria bypouncing on a defensive error to claim an early opener Carolus Andriamatsinoro’s deflected free-kick thenensured Madagascar went into the last 16 as winners of Group B.
Madagascar topped Group B with seven points,Nigeria (six points) and Guinea (four points), while Burundi didn’t register a point.
They are now set to play (49th ranked) D.R.Congo on Sunday to vie for a spot in the semi-finals.The Leopards faced an anxious wait to determine their Afcon fate and eventually secured progression after the completion of the group stage. Senegalthumped Kenya 3-0 leaving Harambee Stars on three points with a negative goal difference (-4).
Nicolas Dupuis’ side will clash with Florent Ibenge’s boys on Sunday, July 7 in Alexandria.