Angola have so far failed to build on the advances made by the generation of 2006, who reached the world finals in Germany that year, the first time As Palancas Negras have appeared at the FIFA World Cup™. Drawn in Group 3 of the second phase of qualifying for South Africa 2010, the Angolans, coached by Luis Goncalves, opened up with wins over Benin and Niger. Failing to capitalise on that promising start, they then lost three in a row and finished a frustrating second.
FIFA World Cup finals history
Qualifying for Germany 2006 has been Angola’s biggest achievement to date, and did not come easy in an evenly matched section that also comprised favourites Nigeria, Algeria and Rwanda. As Palancas Negras began their maiden world finals appearance with defeat to eventual semi-finalists Portugal but showed plenty of grit in drawing with Mexico and Iran, against whom striker Flavio Amado scored Angola’s one and only FIFA World Cup finals goal.
The current crop
Angola’s fine run of results since 2000 pushed them up the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking and into the top 70 by the middle of 2008. Since then, however, their form has fallen away, and though they have reached the last eight of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations twice recently, the last time being in 2010, they have now slipped out of the leading 100. Their hopes of climbing once more hinge on the ability of experienced players such as Lama, Flavio, Gilberto and Manucho to blend with new boys like Djalma and Geraldo.
The key players
The scorer of that solitary goal at Germany 2006, Flavio Amado remains the focal point of the Angolan attack, although he has been sidelined with an injury in recent months. The likes of Manucho, Gilberto and Djalma, a star with Portuguese side Maritimo, have all come to the fore in his absence, though Angola have work to do if they are to qualify from their group for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.