“Cape Verde can beat any African team,” says national soccer coach 02 June 2012
Today is the big day for the game between Cape Verde and Sierra Leone. At 3:30 pm Cape Verdean time, the Blue Sharks, as the national team is known, will take to the field in Freetown for the first round in the African zone of the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It will be the beginning of a new campaign to make it to where so far Cape Verdean has only dreamed. After being eliminated just one step away from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, Cape Verde is now once again trying to believe that it is possible to make this dream come true.
National soccer coach Lúcio Antunes called upon 23 athletes, all of whom play for teams outside of Cape Verde, for today’s game. The two new faces are Platini (who plays for Santa Clara, in Portugal) and Carlitos (who plays for Limasol, Cyprus).
They will be joined by habitués Fock, Nando, Varela, Marco Soares, Babanco, Lito, Dady, Zé Luis, Heldon and others in a struggle for the three points in the inaugural game in the group to which Cape Verde belongs alongside Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea.
Antunes is aware of the difficulties they will face, particularly given that they will be playing away from home. “Sierra Leone is a good team. It’s better positioned than us on the FIFA ranking – in 61st place, as opposed to Cape Verde’s 76th – and it has good athletes who play in various different European championships. They also have a competent and experienced Swedish coach.”
As such, “Cape Verde has to be strong” and give do its utmost “to being those three points home,” affirms the national soccer coach. This would, hopefully, be the first in a series of wins – indeed, anything is possible, as Antunes makes a point of stressing: “if the national team fulfills all of these requisites and has a little bit of luck, it can beat any African team.”