Thursday Feb 02, 2023. 14:00
Madagascar coach Romuald Rakotondrabe expressed pride in his team for putting up a fight in their 1-0 defeat to Senegal in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) semi-finals on Tuesday.
The Barea impressed on their debut in the tournament, pipping Ghana to top spot in Group C which saw Rakotondrabe named best coach of the group stages.
Their dream run continued with a 3-1 victory over Mozambique in the quarter-finals but the Lions of Teranga were a bridge too far, with Pape Diallo’s fifth-minute goal settling the tie at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers.
Rakotondrabe’s side will now battle it out with Niger for third place on Friday and the 43-year-old tactician is determined to return home with a medal around his neck.
“I am so proud of my players. Even as a competitor, it is difficult for me to accept defeat, but that is the game,” he said in the post-match press conference.
“We were taken unaware from the beginning of the match, we tried to come back. But unfortunately, we did not succeed. That’s the way it is in high-level football. The best team won tonight.
“We lost the match against Senegal and now we know what we have to correct, to improve. In victory as in defeat we remain united. It’s time for us to prepare for the match against Niger. We must return to Madagascar with this medal around our neck.”