Madagascar coach Romuald Rakotondrabe has expressed his side’s strong will to finish on a high note at the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2022 in Algeria.
The Barea, who are competing in the continental competition for the first time, reached the semi-finals but fell short of making the final when they lost 1-0 to a superior Senegalese side on Tuesday.
“This is a very important match for us. We wanted to go to the final but we lost to Senegal. We have since rested well and the players are motivated to play this game and give our fans more joy. We have enjoyed their support throughout the tournament, and we want to do this for our country,” Rakotondrabe told the media at the pre-match press conference on Thursday.
Madagascar went into the semi-final tie as the team that had scored the most goals at the tournament – eight but failed to break down the Senegalese defense.
When they face Niger, they will be up against a wounded side that had not conceded a goal prior to their semi-final tie against Algeria but ended up shipping five goals.
The third-place playoff will provide an avenue for both sides to redeem themselves and fight for a place on the podium in what is considered to be the most difficult game to play at a tournament.
“We are motivated to play this game. We have worked hard to come up to this stage of the tournament. On this journey, we have made our fans extremely happy. It is a “small” final and we want to play for pride for our people back home,” Madagascar captain Tantely Antoine Randrianiaina noted.
Rakotondrabe who is commonly known as Roro back home admitted that Niger will have a slight advantage because they have played all their games at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran but that his team was ready for the challenge.
“Niger have a slight advantage but we have rested well since the semi-final in Algiers. The flight to Oran was less than an hour and the players slept well. Today, we shall have training as we continue to ensure the team spirit is right,” Roro explained.
He continued, “We played in Constantine, Algiers and Oran and I can tell you that Algeria is beautiful. The fans have been great, and the organisation is extraordinary.”
Madagascar face Niger on Friday at 1900GMT in a battle for third place.
Source: Confederation of African Football