The story of Joseph the Dreamer is on the screen in the ancient land of Pharaoh where Joseph, the foreigner emerged Vice President of the nation without a general election. This Joseph is the debutante Berean of Madagascar who is dreaming of lifting the African Cup of Nations trophy on their first appearance at the party.
Come 8pm Thursday, the team will file out against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the quarterfinals in pursuit of their dream.
It is the 3rd straight trial of Tunisia to get past the quarterfinals and right now they are not even that good at the fumbling and wobbling thing in football. The team could only get a lucky 3 points to come second in group E the worst result from any second place qualifier in any group.
The low scoring Tunisia played 1-1 with Angola; 1-1 with Mali and a disappointing goalless draw with debutante Mauritania. Then, the extremely lucky outing of defeating Black Stars of Ghana 5-4 on penalties after playing 1-1 at Extra time.
Their opponents, Madagascar are the second best attacking team after Algeria having scored 7 goals so far but conceding 4. Their first match in the finals ended 2-2 with Guinea; defeated the Swallows of Burundi 1-0 and shocked Nigeria 2-0. Madagascar played a pulsating 2-2 draw with Congo before clinching the penalties 4-2. It is a record for a fresh team to come to the party and go this far.
It is interesting that both teams have met twice. Madagascar never defeated Tunisia. Tunisia has not failed to score against Madagascar. Their last encounter was in 2001 when Tunisia won 2-0. One observation is that Tunisia has never conceded a goal in 40 minutes so the first half is at worst going to get goalless or Tunisia has scored.
Tunisia who withdrew in 1980 and didn’t get to be in Nigeria for political reasons is coming for the 19th time. Tunisia was champion in 2004; runners-up twice in 1965 and 1996; Bronze medalists in 1962; Semifinalists twice in 1978 and 2000 and Quarterfinalists for good six times in 1998, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2017.
Experience and ruggedness should give Tunisia the match.
- ENIOLA OLATUNJI.