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AFCON 2019: Madagascar shock Super Eagles to extend AFCON fairytale3 min read

The Indian Ocean islanders will advance as winners of Group B ahead of Nigeria

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Madagascar shocks Nigeria in the AFCON 2019 with a 2-0 win against the super falons

Africa Cup of Nations newcomers Madagascar pulled off a stunning upset of Nigeria on Sunday with a 2-0 win over the three-time former champions to clinch a place in the last 16. Lalaina Nomenjanahary gave Madagascar a shock 12th-minute lead in Alexandria after pouncing on ponderous defending, jolting a side ranked 63 places above them in the world.

Charles Andriamatsinoro sealed the victory in front of CAF president and Madagascar native Ahmad Ahmad with a heavily deflected free-kick on 53 minutes for his second goal in three games in Egypt.

The Indian Ocean islanders had to come through a preliminary round just to reach the qualifying competition but will advance as winners of Group B ahead of Nigeria, with Guinea hoping to progress as one of the four best third-place finishers following a 2-0 win over Burundi in Cairo.

Defeat for Nigeria likely sets up an eye-catching clash with either holders Cameroon or four-time winners Ghana in the next round, while Madagascar will take on a team that finishes third from either Group A, C or D.

Madagascar celebrate as they shock Nigeria 2-0
Madagascar’s forward Faneva Andriatsima (2L) pours water on Madagascar’s coach Nicolas Dupuis (C) as they celebrate winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Group B football match between Madagascar and Nigeria at the Alexandria Stadium on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Related: Africa’s top scorers ready to slug it out in Group B at the AFCON 2019

Having already qualified after back-to-back 1-0 victories, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr made five changes to the side that overcame Guinea in their second game with Samuel Kalu handed his first start of the tournament following last week’s collapse in training due to severe dehydration.

Yet after a comfortable start, Nigeria gifted their opponents a goal completely against the run of play when a poor pass from John Ogu put Leon Balogun in trouble, with Nomenjanahary pinching the ball on the edge of the area and coolly dancing round Ikechukwu Ezenwa to slot home.

Kalu bent a shot wide of the far post in response for Nigeria, whose penalty appeals were ignored when Ahmed Musa tumbled to the ground after trying to skip past goalkeeper Melvin Adrien on the half-hour.

French coach Nicolas Dupuis, who combines the role with his job at a lower-league club in his homeland, has worked wonders with a Madagascar side that qualified for a first Cup of Nations by finishing above Equatorial Guinea and Sudan.

Guinea face anxious wait

They doubled their lead early in the second half here when Andriamatsinoro’s set-piece flicked off substitute Wilfred Ndidi and left Ezenwa stranded as the ball sailed into the net.

Ndidi belatedly registered Nigeria’s first shot on target just before the hour with a curling effort straight at Adrien, although Anicet Andrianantenaina nearly bagged a third as Ezenwa smothered on the line after an inviting Andriamatsinoro cross.

While Madagascar became the first debutants to advance beyond the group stage since Cape Verde in 2013, they will be without midfielder Marco Ilaimaharitra for their next game after he collected a late yellow card, his second in three matches.

Madagascar supporters celebrate as the Islanders stun Nigeria 2-0 at the AFCONs
Madagascar’s supporters celebrate after their team won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Group B football match between Madagascar and Nigeria at the Alexandria Stadium on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Related: Mahrez and Algeria top Mane’s Senegal in the heavyweight clash

In contrast, fellow newcomers Burundi bowed out without a single goal or point after a 2-0 loss to Guinea.

Burundi’s hopes suffered a huge blow when Christophe Nduwarugira was sent off on 12 minutes in the capital after a foul as the last man, and Mohamed Yattara stepped up for Guinea with both goals to leave them facing a nervous wait for a spot in the last 16.

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East Africa Sports News

Kenya set to host second Copa Coca-Cola Africa Cup

The teams will play a total of 20 matches with the best two teams in each group qualifying for the quarterfinals and knock-out stages

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Kenya set to host second Copa Coca-Cola Africa Cup

The second edition of the COPA Coca-Cola Africa Cup is set to take place in Thika, Kenya from December 2-5, 2019. The hosts and the inaugural champions, Kenya, will seek to defend their 2018 title, won at the games held in Nakuru, Kenya. The country claimed both the boys’ and girls’ titles last year.

The tournament format comprises twelve teams and four groups. The participating teams in 2019 include Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Namibia and the hosts, Kenya.

The teams will play a total of 20 matches with the best two teams in each group qualifying for the quarterfinals and knock-out matches, thereafter.

According to Coca-Cola, more than 500,000 teens across Africa aged 13-15 take part in domestic Copa Coca-Cola tournaments each year and is a showcase of skills and talent aimed at developing young footballers into the next generation of soccer stars.

“The COPA Africa Cup is a platform that will go a long way in ensuring the students are the next generation of soccer stars. The array of stars the tournament has provided to the national football teams of the participating teams is a testament of the crucial nature of the games,” said Mr. Evanson Ndungu, Coca-Cola Marketing Manager, The Coca-Cola Company, Kenya.

The COPA Coca Cola tournaments have a rich history on the continent. Since its inception in Zimbabwe in 1989, it has traversed continents and grown to become a global grassroots football initiative for young people.

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Kenya’s Shujaa Stage Bold Comeback to Win African Title & Secure Olympics Spot

The Kenya men’s rugby Sevens team, Shujaa, qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo following their 31-0 win over Uganda

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The Kenya men’s rugby Sevens team, Shujaa, qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo following their 31-0 win over Uganda at the finals of the Africa Men’s Sevens in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday. The 2019 Africa Men Sevens tournament, an annual rugby tournament is organized by Rugby Africa and doubled up as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifiers for Africa.

Shujaa joins the Kenya Lionesses, the national women’s sevens rugby side, in the list of teams that have so far qualified for the Olympics, scheduled to take place from 24th July to 9th August 2020. The team, captained by Andrew Amonde, made a stellar display at the tournament, sailing through the group stage unbeaten with a 36-7 win over Ivory Coast, 50-0 over Senegal, before flooring Namibia 33-0 and Uganda 24-7 to emerge at the top of Pool B.

Having narrowly evaded relegation from the World Rugby Sevens Series last season, when it recorded its lowest performance ranking since 1999, the team hopes to put its best foot forward in the coming weeks and at the start of the new sevens circuit in December 2019. To this end, Kenya intends to leverage the experience of newly appointed New Zealander, Paul Feeney, who serves as the national technical director of rugby in the country.

The former Auckland and South African Stormers coach won the 2005 Rugby Sevens World Cup with Fiji and will now head the Kenya Sevens program, in addition to supporting the 15s and the women’s Lionesses teams in areas of skills and defense. Speaking to News Central in Nairobi on the team’s performance in Johannesburg, Paul Feeney said, ‘The goal was to win the tournament and qualify for the Olympics, which we achieved. We have 8 months to prepare for the Olympics and to that end, we need to get on the sevens circuit and put in some good performances. There are a number of areas such as fitness, strength and conditioning we will work on gradually and from each tournament we play, we will find out more about ourselves, the level we are playing at and where we need to be.”

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Kenya celebrates as Kipchoge makes them proud

Eliud Kipchoge’s historic marathon time on Saturday was greeted with joy and pride in his native Kenya.

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Eliud Kipchoge’s historic marathon time on Saturday was greeted with joy and pride in his native Kenya.

“I am happy today because he has won in Kenya and in the world. I thank him so much for this, for me, for Kenya and the world,” said Kipchoge’s mother Janet Rotich who watched in her home village Kapsisiywa as her son became the first man to run the marathon distance in less than two hours.

Kipchoge’s run in Vienna was broadcast live on all Kenya’s television stations. 

Even so, in Eldoret, the city 40 kilometres from Kapsisiywa where the 34-year-old runner, his wife and three children live, and in Nairobi, crowds gathered in the early morning to watch the run on giant screens.

Read Also: Ineos 1:59 Challenge: Kenya’s Kipchoge says ready to “break the two-hour barrier

In Eldoret, the fans watched in feverish excitement as their champion ticked off the kilometres and exalted when Kipchoge crossed the finish line with a clock displaying 1hr 59 min 40 sec, throwing hats and water bottles into the air.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta quickly issued his “hearty congratulations”. 

“You’ve done it, you’ve made history and made Kenya proud while at it. Your win today, will inspire tens of future generations to dream big and to aspire for greatness. We celebrate you and wish you God’s blessings,”  President Kenyatta continued. 

Kenya’s vice-president William Ruto, who had made the trip to Vienna, sent out a series of tweets.

“A blistering 1.59.40! Congratulations @EliudKipchoge for the historic achievement in shattering the sub-two-hour barrier for the marathon; you are arguably the greatest runner of all time.”

Athletics, along with sevens rugby, is the most successful sport in bringing Kenyans together, regardless of their social or ethnic background. 

In Kapsisiywa, Eliud’s older brother, Wilson Sugut, said the run showed what individuals could achieve.

“He told the world that no human being is limited and that he will overcome this two-hour barrier,” he recalled. “People couldn’t believe it, but now we can believe it.” 

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