Nairobi, Friday 9 July 2021….Despite a late arrival for the U20 Barthes Trophy in Nairobi, the Junior Maki’s went ahead and shocked Senegal with a 34-3 victory in their first game at the Nyayo National Stadium.
The Junior Makis have certainly been impressive with their fleet feet and fast-paced rugby.
They head into this weekend’s fixture against Kenya refreshed after a week of recovery and preparations and the camp is looking lively according to skipper and talisman, Setra Solofoniaina Andriamasinjanahary.
“We have had more than enough time to recover. I am feeling okay and the whole team is also fine and ready to go this weekend,” says Setra. These two sides are no strangers to each other having last met in the same competition on 28 March 2018 at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek. Kenya won the game 51-13.
The coach, Rakotoarivelo Mboazafy Noé insists that they are here for the trophy. “We want nothing less than to be crowned U20 champions of Africa.”
Sunday’s game against hosts and defending champions Chipu of Kenya is winner takes it all and Setra, and his team, is anxiously waiting for the moment. “We have been waiting for this moment since we played Senegal. Our training sessions have been geared towards countering Kenya’s strengths and we cannot wait,” adds Setra.
Despite their impressive showing against Senegal last weekend, Setra and his coach are not blind to the fact that the Kenyans are bigger and they have devised a way to counter that aspect. “The Kenyans are big, we are smaller so we have devised our own trick to beat them, we just have to wait for Sunday,” concludes Setra.
Madagascar will be relying heavily on influential center Salotra Lucas Rakotomalala who scored a brace of tries against Senegal and is joint-second on the tournament’s try-scoring charts.
The team has been training in a bio-bubble environment the whole tournament and despite not being able to move around Nairobi, Setra is happy with the City under the sun. “Nairobi is a very good place. Our stay in Kenya so far has been very good. We have no complaints,” adds Setra.
The tournament is being played in a round-robin format and the final rankings will be determined after the game.
Madagascar will take on Kenya in the 1.30 pm kick-off on Sunday 11 July in what has been dubbed the “Super Sunday.”
-James Njenga/U20 Barthes Trophy Media Team