By Amakye Ansah
#4. Cape Verde 🇨🇻
Nickname: Blue Sharks
Last Appearance: 2015
Coach: Pedro Leitao Brito “BUBISTA” (Cape Verde)
Best AFCON results: Quarter finals ( 2013)
Skipper: Josimar Dias “VOZINHA”
Player to watch: Josimar Dias “VOZINHA”
CAF Rankings: 14
FIFA Rankings: 73
Cape Verde punched above their weight in the Qatar 2022 qualifiers. Blue Sharks finished just 2 points behind mighty Nigeria and drew 1-1 in the crucial MD6 winner takes all fixture against The Super Green Eagles in Lagos. It shows that they are very good.
Bubista has one of the most aged teams of this tournament with an average age of 28.3 years per Transfermarkt.com. Their front three in Lagos against Nigeria were; Jamiro Gregory (28), Ryan Mendes (31), and Julio Tavares (33). They are not mere pushovers and cannot be underestimated. Cape Verde has experienced players.
A country with less than 500,000 population, they will always be underdogs in association football.
They look fearless in their games and can cause an upset on any day. They have missed the last 2 AFCONs and will love to make amends. Their first AFCON was in 2013 and lost 2-0 to Ghana in the quarter-finals.
The Core of the team
Their goalkeeper: Vozinha is undeniably one of their main men. The AEL Limassol shot-stopper is a regular for both club and country. He is just 5 games behind Babanco (62 caps) to equal the national record of most appearances for Blue Sharks.
Experience left-back Ianique Dos Santos Tavares Stopira has been with the national team since 2007 and will offer them enough experience. The Mol Ferherver defender has 46 caps to his name.
Kenny Rocha Santos is the future for Cape Verde’s midfield. The 21-year old Oostende midfielder played in all the six games in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and is expected to be an integral part of the midfield.
Marco Soares, the 37-year old Arouca midfielder is not playing regularly for club and country but a lot will be expected from him in terms of experience.
They have an attack with a combined age of 92 years. Jamiro Gregory Monteiro Alvangera (28), Ryan Mendes (31), and Julio Tavares (33) are expected to lead the attack. They will open the campaign against Ethiopia, followed by a fixture against Burkina Faso and will finish the group with a difficult tie against Cameroon.
Expect some formation change by Bubista. It is either 3-4-2-1, 4-3-3 or 3-4-3.
Probable line up
Jeffry Fortes, Stopira Dos Santos Tavares, Steven Fortes, Steve Furtado (DF)
Patrick Andrade, Kenny Rocha Santos, Nuno Borges (MF)
Jamiro Monteiro, Ryan Mendes, Julio Tavares (ATT)
Expectations: Round 16