Madagascar V DR Congo; A Meeting Of Two Foxes.

July 07 05:53 2019

Debutante Madagascar who was conquerors of Nigeria’s Super Eagles could be facing a crafty Democratic Republic of Congo who qualified for the round of 16 stages scrappily and with unresolved allegation still pending. Or will it be the game of foxes to be settled via boardroom soccer tactics?
Their match will be at Alexandria Stadium in Egypt where Nigeria played most of their matches on Sunday at 5pm with Referee El Jaafari of Morocco directing affairs.
Congo were streaming an unfortunate strings of loses losing 0-2 to Uganda and then another 0-2 to Egypt before a super performance of 4-0 over Zimbabwe. I reported twice that a Congolese financial baron was alleged to have given the Zimbabwean goalkeeper, Elvis Chipezeze in the Congo v Zimbabwe match good money to let in goals. The guy allowed four straight goals that enabled Congo sneak in as a lucky loser after placing 3rd in her group with only 3 points, 4 goals for and 4 goals against. CAF Disciplinary Committee was said to be sitting on the allegation and would make public their decision by Friday night.
While reporting a preview of the Nigeria versus Madagascar match, I wrote that African refs tend to want to favor teams from the home country of sitting CAF Presidents for reasons best known to them. I described that as part of boardroom soccer in football parlance all over the world.
But now a versatile Madagascar that posted a superlative performance playing 2-2 draw with mighty Guinea; slamming Burundi where Burundi got a red and clipping the wings of the globally recognized Super Eagles 2-0 will face a Congo that are unbeaten in four of their last five matches against Madagascar in all competitions. Both teams met 5 times, with one draw and Congo running away with 3 victories. While Madagascar did not have a clean sheet in 5 of their last 7 matches in all competitions, Congo too did not have clean sheet in 5 matches of their last 6 matches in AFCON matches. The meaning of this is that both sides shall concede goal(s) in their R16 encounter.
The score sheet before me is pathetic for Madagascar who was given an abbreviation of MAD by CAF in Egypt. On the 14th of June 2015 Congo won 2-1 but on the 5th of June 2016 Congo mauled them 6-1.
On current stats in Egypt, Congo is superior to Madagascar in both the good and the bad, except in corner kicks where Mad has 14 and Cod 10. On shots at goal it is Mad 11-15; ball possession 125-142 and offside 3-8 that incidentally means Congo are more enterprising in attack but they have all along had challenges in defense. Congo has 65-45 fouls as well as 7-5 yellow cards meaning Congo players are more of roughish team.
Congo may be good on stats, football pundits believe if the Berea of Madagascar could post the kind of performance against the Super Eagles and improve on it, they might go near a revenge of the humiliation of 5th June 2016. Madagascar player, Carolus Andriamatsinoro has 2 goals and C. Bakambu of Congo also has 2 goals to their names.
The victorious team between Madagascar and Congo will meet the winner of the Ghana/Tunisia match in the quarterfinals.

  • ENIOLA OLATUNJI.
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