Tough to do better next time, says Madagascar boss

The Chronicle

Cairo — Madagascar coach, Nicolas Dupuis, conceded it would be difficult for the Africa Cup of Nations debutants to eclipse their run to this year’s quarter-finals in future tournaments.

The Indian Ocean islanders saw their dream run finally halted by Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Tunisia, a country ranked 83 places above them in the world.

“I’m very proud of what the players have done since the start of the tournament. I tip my hat to them,” said Dupuis, whose contract was set expire at the end of the competition in Egypt.

“Today the step was too high. As for my future, it doesn’t matter much. I’m someone loyal and my priority is Madagascar.”

Dupuis took over as coach of Madagascar in 2017 and has transformed a nation once ranked as low as 190th, and which had to come through a preliminary round just to take part in qualifying for this tournament, into the surprise package at this year’s finals.

“I don’t know if Madagascar’s priority is to keep me,” continued Dupuis. It’s going to be difficult to do better next time. There’s a lot of work to be done in Madagascar.

We have to use what we did to show that work pays off.

“We need to keep working otherwise it could just be a fleeting thing. We need to get back to work.”

“I have no regrets,” he added. “We were up against a very good side.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s footballers are in line for a minimum $75 000 (R1.05 million) windfall for every goal they score against Algeria in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semi-final in Cairo.

The continent’s richest man Aliko Dangote has promised to pay the Super Eagles $50 000 (R700 000) for each goal they score against the Algerians.

According to Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Nigerian oil mogul Femi Otedola has also promised to reward the team with $25 000 (R350 000) for every goal beginning from the encounter with Algeria.

Several other wealthy Nigerians have showered the Eagles with huge cash donations after they reached the last four of the tournament.

Officials said that each player has so far received at least $72 000 (R1 million) in bonuses and donations.

The team received cash gifts and plots of land from the Nigerian government when they won the competition for the third time in South Africa in 2013.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Eagles to remain focused in order to win the tournament for a fourth time.

Kick-off is at 21:00 SA time.

In Sunday’s other semi-final, Senegal will take on Tunisia at 18:00 SA time. — AFP.