2019 Africa Cup of Nations: Madagascar coach Dupuis to stick with squad

Madagascar coach Nicolas Depuis

Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis has ruled out bringing in any new players ahead of their debut at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Depuis, 51, had succeeded in recruiting France-born Lyon defender Jérémy Morel one of several players of Malagasy descent – to strengthen the Island nation’s squad.

But the Frenchman does not expect any other foreign-born players to become available to the Barea to extend their pool of talent in preparation for the tournament.

“No, that’s it. There are players who have made themselves available either directly or through their agents,” he told local media.

“But we are already in May, our training camp will start at the end of the month and so we will only work with those who qualified for the Afcon.

“Importantly, I have not closed the door on anyone, we will see after the tournament.”

Madagascar had been linked with a move for Ludovic Ajorque, with the France-born player enjoying impressive regular first-team football at Strasbourg where he has scored 10 goals in 27 matches this season.

However, Depuis, who is also part of the technical staff at French fourth-tier side Fleury 91, has ruled the forward out of the event in Egypt.

“With Ajorque the situation is very simple. When I contacted him he was very clear that this is his first season in Ligue 1 with Strasbourg, so he basically wanted to focus on his club.

“I perfectly understand this and I have no intention to disrupt that by making another approach.

“He is an intelligent boy, who has not closed the door on Madagascar for the future. He knows what he is doing and I really wish him the very best.”

Back in October, the former French colony became the first team to qualify for a place in the 2019 Nations Cup finals, that have now been expanded from 16 teams to 24.

Debutants Madagascar and Burundi are in Group B with West Africans Nigeria and Guinea for the tournament which will take place from 21 June to 19 July.