We have to keep our feet on the ground – Madagascar coach

Head coach of the Mad­agascar national team, Romuald Rakotondrabe says his side needs to keep calm and have their feet firmly on the ground after their blistering start at the TotalEnergies African Na­tions Championship in Algeria.

This was after the coach mas­terminded a shock 2-1 victory over tournament favourites, Ghana at the Chahid Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine in their opening Group C match on Sunday.

First half goals by Solomampi­onona Razafindranaivo and Olivier Randriatsiferana were enough to see the islanders pull the first up­set of the tournament at a packed Chahid Hamlaoui stadium.

As impressive as the result was, coach Rakotondrabe is not getting carried away with the win, saying that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I am very proud of my play­ers and what they have produced tonight. They beat the favourites and as I mentioned yesterday, the game of football is played on the pitch and not on paper,” said the coach.

“We must also be careful not to get carried away. Beating Ghana does not mean we can win the tournament. We still have more matches to play and they will be just as difficult.

Asked how he masterminded the victory, the coach attributed it to the amazing team spirit that exists in his squad.

“We have highly dedicated players who are willing to do anything for the team. We have been together for years and we are like a family.

“We also tried watching some videos of the opposition, but the victory is definitely due to the team spirit, unity and solidarity that exists in the camp and the pride we have for our nation.

The coach also lauded his players for remaining focused even after conceding a goal, which shifted the momentum to Ghana towards the closing stages.

“The game became a bit tense after we conceded. They really came at us, but my boys managed to remain calm and gave it their all in ensuring that we do not con­cede any further. We had a really good game, and I am proud of my boys,” concluded Rakotondrabe.

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