Madagascar coach Romuald Rakotondrabe believes his side can spring a surprise and lift the African Nations Championship trophy as they prepare for a semifinal against west African giants Senegal on Tuesday.
The Malagasy defeated Mozambique 3-1 in their quarterfinal over the weekend and are now 180 minutes away from what would be among their greatest ever football triumphs.
Rakotondrabe says they can draw inspiration from having reached the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt four years ago as they prepare for another big battle.
“Senegal is a good team, they are African champions. We have a lot of respect for Senegal. That said, I believe they are beatable, and we will go into that game with belief,” Rakotondrabe said.
“In 2019 we were ambitious. We have already won against Ghana. We are in the semis. We focus on Senegal, knowing it will be very difficult, but we keep working on it.
“In the beginning we wanted to just qualify from the group. Now we are in the semis, two games left. We believe this team can do it. Go all the way … (even though) a semifinal is never easy.
“We came here as underdogs. But my players have worked hard and changed our status. I can’t believe it. Congratulations to my players.
“In the beginning my players had fear. However, we adjusted and quickly adapted. That’s why I am so satisfied. But in all honesty, I didn’t envisage we will be in the semis.”
Madagascar are making their debut at the CHAN finals.