BY STEVE AYOO
Midfielder Anicet Abel Andrianantenaina has been at the center of Madagascar’s historic run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Ludogorets Razgrad central midfielder scored the Barea’s debut goal at Afcon against Guinea and has not looked back, his energetic performance in central midfield being the catalyst of the best story at Afcon 2019.
And as they prepare to take on Tunisia in the quarter-finals after knocking out DR Congo in the round of 16, the 29-year-old believes his side have the quality to go all the way.
“We are happy with the victory over DR Congo and it shows that we are capable of winning the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said.
“Now that we have scaled the Congolese hurdle, we will work very hard for our next game. With our players and great staff, we’ll do everything to go as far as we can.”
The Islanders face a Tunisia side who are yet to win a match in normal time at Afcon 2019. Three straight draws in their group saw the Carthage Eagles finish runners-up to group winners Mali and book them a last 16 clash against Ghana.
Victory looked within sight against the Black Stars after Yassine Khenissi’s 73rd minute goal but an own goal from Yami Bedoui in stoppage time sent the match to extra time, and then penalties which Tunisia won 5-4.
Attacking midfielder Sliti knows where his side needs improvement as they face the giant slayers.
“We were playing too much at the back. You must not do that. We will continue with our preparation. There is a huge game ahead. By God’s grace it shall be fine,” he said.
Despite their struggles so far, Tunisia remain the favorites to win this tie. Luck may have so far been their greatest friend but Alain Giresse’s men have enough experience at this stage. However, Madagascar have shown everyone that they are not an easy ride and are not content with what they have achieved so far. Their energy, commitment to the cause and the fact that anyone in the squad can score a goal erases any doubt that they might pull another shocker. Tipping them to win 2-1.