Madagascar: Big population, but no longer small in football terms

The island nation have qualified for the African Cup of Nations for the first time, after a convincing qualifying campaign.

By Kieran Ahuja

Madagascar have typically not had much luck in the footballing world. In a continent where teams such as Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa often qualify for the world cup, the island nation has been both metaphorically and geographically on the periphery. In the six decades that the AFCON has been running, the competition has been held 31 times – with Madagascar, until now, continually failing to qualify. They’ve had more success looking eastwards, being the winners of the Indian Ocean Island games in 1990 and the runners-up in 2007. But, these wins are against teams who you’ve probably never heard of (Comoros? Mayotte?), most of whom come from islands with sub-million populations.

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