Cape Verde Islands have made significant strides in recent times despite being a relatively new team, their FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers debut only coming in the Korea/Japan 2002 preliminaries. Proof of that has come in the last two qualification tournaments. After reaching the final phase in the Germany 2006 competition, they acquitted themselves well again on the road to South Africa 2010, overcoming Tanzania and Mauritius, and finishing just behind Cameroon in the second round.
The current crop
With virtually all of their internationals playing their club football overseas, Cape Verde Islands have good reason to believe a lasting place in the African elite lies ahead, especially if their strong showing in the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations is anything to go by. “It’s the first time I’ve felt this kind of expectation in the national team,” their upbeat coach Lucio Antunes told FIFA.com recently.
The key players
Youngsters Varela and Stopira and the more seasoned Nando are the mainstays of a well-drilled defence, while Ryan Mendes, Odair Fortes, and Platini are the most dangerous players up front.