THE continental rugby governing body CAR has made two surprising declarations. They chose Madagascar as hosts of the Africa Cup finals on dates that coincide with the World Cup in France.
The 2007 IRB World Cup in France will definitely steal the lime light from the CAR finals and this looks like a public relations blunder. Despite Madagascar not honouring the CAR U-19 Championship in Kampala, CAR in itâ€™s wisdom, rewarded them with hosting rights at senior level!
Kenya and Uganda looked like front runners due to their central location but were snubbed.
Madagascar has hosted the Indian Ocean sevens but it could be a logistical nightmare to host a CAR semi- final, losers match and final in four daysâ€” September 26-29!
On the positive side though, Madagascar is said to have the richest rugby heritage in Africa outside South Africa with the sport being the number one sport ahead of soccer.
This island of about 23 million has 20,000 registered rugby players. The countryâ€™s president even turns up for games.
Madagascar has never lost to all the other semi-finalists Cote Dâ€™Ivoire and Kenya but has lost to Uganda twice.
In 2005, a desperate Uganda who needed a win to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive,were losing with 5 minutes to go but threw everything at the Makis to win the game at the death 18-14.
Uganda should be prepared to play against a strong 40,000 crowd!
CAR finals in Madagasacar?