Madagascar

Rajoelina 'knights' Madagascar Afcon team

The Barea
Communication Présidence de la République de Madagascar

Madagascar's national football stars, who enjoyed a fairy-tale run at the Africa Cup of Nations, have arrived home from Egypt to a big official welcome, during which they were given the rank of Knight of the Malagasy National Order.

The team was also given a cash award according to online newspaper News Mada.

The players and coaching staff were received by President Andry Rajoelina at the Lavoloha State Palace in the capital, Antananarivo.

Before the official reception, videos showed hundreds of people lining the streets of the city to cheer on the national heroes.

The Afcon debutants became one of the talking points of the competition after beating Nigeria 2-0 and topping their first-round group.

They knocked-out the Democratic Republic of DR Congo in the second round but lost to Tunisia in the quarter finals, falling to a 3-0 thumping.

The president had travelled to Egypt for the team's second-round tie, and said they "will come back stronger" after they exited.

Can Madagascar continue fairytale run?

Madagascar football team
Reuters
The Barea topped their group that had former Afcon winners Nigeria

All eyes are on Madagascar as they look to cause another major upset at the Africa Cup of Nations.

They have already defeated Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, and standing in their way of a place in the semi-finals are Tunisia, who have yet to win a game at this tournament in normal time.

Tunisia drew all three group games before requiring penalties to see off Ghana in the round of 16.

Journalist Tim Healy who's in Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, described the mood in the country as explosive.

"The people are talking about this non-stop, it’s on the cover of every newspaper," he told the BBC's Newsday programme.

President Andry Rajoelina, who was in the stadium to watch the game against DR Congo on Sunday, told the BBC that the side can "go all the way".

In Thursday's other quarter-final game, former champions Ivory Coast face an Algeria team in Suez that have won all four games, scored nine goals and are yet to concede.