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Madagascar reach Africa Cup of Nations for first time

media Nicolas Dupuis has steered Madagascar to their first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations. AFP/Thierry Zoccolan

Madagascar qualified for their first Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea. Njiva Rakotoharimalala scored four minutes before half-time to secure his country's berth at the finals next summer in Cameroon.

Since the inception in 1957 of hte Africa Cup of Nations, Madagascar has either not entered a team for the tournament or not qualified.

But under the guidance of French coach Nicolas Dupuis, the squad has won three of its four games in Group A and drawn with Senegal to boast 10 points.

Senegal also advanced to next summer's extravaganza after a 1-0 victory over Sudan. Sidy Sarr was the west African side's hero. He headed in the winner four minutes from time in Khartoum.

Tunisia and Egypt also progressed with away victories in Group J over Niger and eSwatini respectively.

While Tunisia, Egypt and Senegal are storied features at the Africa Cup of Nations, the arrival of Madagascar will be one of the highlights of event.

They had to go thorugh a two-leg preliminary round against Sao Tome e Principe before reaching the group stages. And they set up their chance for glory after a 1-0 win on 13 October over Equatorial Guinea.

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