Madagascar is playing host to the Confédération Africaine de Rugby (CAR) Championship Division 1B competition from July 4 to 11. The other nations in the group are Morocco, Namibia and Sénégal. While the country has been marred in severe economic and political crisis since the 2009 coup, the Malagasy population is trying to escape their daily struggles by getting behind the Malagasy National Rugby Team also known as the “Makis de Madagascar” (The Maki Lemurs of Madagascar). The CAR competition also serve as qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
All the matches between the 4 nations were played at the national stadium of Mahamasina in the capital city Antananarivo. The matches drew a bit of a crowd, with an estimated official attendance of 40,000 for the saturday game between Namibia and Madagascar (although attendance seems lesser to local observers.)
The national team brought out national unity and pride that have taken a serious hits with the current political situation. Probably taking a cue from the All Blacks, the Makis of Madagascar performed their own version of the haka before games:
Their victory against Namibia was a high-scoring affair (57-54). The match was an epic battle with a plethora of tries. Rémi Lestang sums it up [fr]:
Il a fallu attendre la fin des prolongations (43-43 à la fin du temps règlementaire) pour qu’un vainqueur se révèle. Grâce à un essai dans les dernières secondes, Madagascar s’est offert le scalp de la Namibie. Une victoire au goût de montée dans le groupe A et de progression au classement IRB : Après la rencontre, la sélection de Madagascar a gagné 14 places pour pointer désormais au 42ème rang mondial.
Here are the highlights of the game courtesy of Madagate:
Unexpected memes related to the games
The games were high on entertainment and malagasy citizens online are also buzzing over satire surrounding the games. The following photo taken during the game between Morocco and Madagascar was widly shared and attested to the tightness of the game.
Another meme that had the Malagasy blogosphere talking was the interview of Namibia's captain conducted by a national TV reporter. On the following video after the game, the reporter is clearly conducting her first interview in English. While she meant to ask what troubles Namibia faced during the game, she instead asked the Namibian captain: ” What is your problem ?” Credit must be given to the captain for playing along and not taking offense even after a close defeat. He answered the question that he guessed was meant to be asked.
Malagasy bloggers had various reactions to the interview ranging from light humor to an extrapolation on the quality of journalism in Madagascar:
TheNickCartman wonders [mg] :
To tsisy nanao traduction
Andrianary Jean Daniel gives credit to the captain for not missing a beat even though he was expecting another question [mg]:
Ilay bandy ary mbola miandry be ilay fanontaniana manaraka
tonga dia borkena fotsiny hoe thank you. Raha izaho aloha ny mpanao gazety ka mpilalao alemà ny eo raha tsy haiko ilay teny tsy hanon-tany zavatra@ teny alemà izany eh ny kiana ho entina mantsara zavatra
Thierry Ratsizehena believes a reporter should be held to higher standards [mg]:
Amiko, mpanao gazety io. Izany hoe matihanina, tokiny mahafehy tsara ny asany. Raha nanolo-tena hanao interview olona amin'ny teny anglisy dia mahafehy tsara ny “conversation” amin'io teny io izany izy (jereo ry Nelson Monfort amin'ny France Televisions). Kanefa, teto dia “risible” ny zava-niseho hoy ny vazaha. Ary olona maromaro no nahatsikaritra izay fa sao misy miteny indray hoe vao noforonina. Mila mahataty tsikera raha te handroso. Ny an'ny vazaha aza mbola mafy lavitra
Zewizewi thinks the comparison is unfair at this stage of malagasy journalism [fr]:
C'est ridicule de comparé ça à Nelson Montfort, déjà France télévision et TVM c'est dix milliards d'années d'écart à mon avis ce genre de personne n'aurait mm pas dû apparaître à l'écran (..) en tout cas la TVM n'est pas la seule chaîne à connaître ce genre de problème, zéro maîtrise du direct.