“I didn’t even know if Comoros had a national team” – The Athletic

“The Islands of the Moon” sounds like a magical and distant place that should only exist in a fairy tale.

It is in fact the Arabic name for the small country of Comoros, which has written its own spectacular history by qualifying for the first time in its history at the African Cup of Nations.

Located in the Indian Ocean, just off the east coast of Africa, near Tanzania and Mozambique, the Comoros is a collection of tiny and picturesque islands that includes Grande Comore – where the capital Moroni is located. – Mohéli and Anjouan. It declared its independence from France in 1975, but Mayotte, which is nearby, voted to stay. It is a source of contention that has at times made relations between the islands volatile.

Unlike Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles, the Comoros do not have a thriving tourism industry and depend on agricultural labor to fuel their economy. The bright yellow flower of ylang-ylang grows on trees on the side of Grande Comore’s two volcanoes – La Grille to the north and Mount Karthala to the south – and its valuable extract is exported to serve as a staple ingredient in some of the most popular perfumes.

With a population of around 815,000, Comoros will become the second smallest team to compete in CAN – after Cape Verde in 2013 – when they face Gabon in Group C on Monday.

They exceeded expectations by simply reaching the tournament.

But their achievement becomes even more impressive when you consider that they only won their first competitive international match in 2016, beating Botswana 1-0 in a CAN preliminary qualifier. They are ranked 132nd in the FIFA men’s ranking.

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