Cape Verde – Blue Sharks

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Africa Cup of Nations record

Previous appearances in finals: (2) 2013, 2015

Best performance: Quarter-finalists 2013

Drawn in Group A with Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ethiopia.

Coach: Bubista

Pedro Brito Leitao, known as Bubista, played 14 years for Cape Verde as a defender, captaining the national team, while playing club football in Angola and Spain, before moving on to a coaching career.

He worked at local clubs Mindelense, Academica Mindelo, Sporting Praia and Batuque, winning regional and national championships.

He was appointed coach in January 2020, taking over from Rui Aguas.

Key player: Ryan Mendes. Age: 31. Forward.

Mendes moved from Cape Verde as a promising junior to France, where he played Ligue 2 football with Le Havre and then in Ligue 1 with Lille.

His international debut came at age 20 and his 55 caps is the most for any Cape Verde international, including appearances at both the 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

He captained the team in their World Cup qualifiers earlier this year, when Cape Verde came close to upsetting Nigeria, while he has moved on in club football to play at Al Nasr in Dubai.

FIFA world ranking Dec. 2021: 73

How they qualified: Runner-up in Group F, behind Cameroon but ahead of Rwanda and Mozambique.


Goalkeepers: Marcio da Rosa (Montalegre), Keven Ramos (Mindelense), Vozinha (AEL Limassol) Defenders: Diney Borges (Royal Armed Forces), Joao Paulo Fernandes (Feirense), Steven Fortes (Oostende), Jeffry Fortes (De Graafschap), Steve Furtado (Beroe Stara Zagora), Roberto Lopes (Shamrock Rovers), Ponck (Istanbul Basaksehir), Stopira (Fehervar), Dylan Tavares (Neuchatel Xamax)

Midfielders: Patrick Andrade (Qarabag), Nuno Borges (Casa Pia), Jamiro Monteiro (Philadelphia Union), Nenass (Aalesund), Kenny Rocha (Oostende), Marco Soares (Arouca)

Forwards: Djaniny (Trabzonspor), Willis Furtado (Jerv), Ryan Mendes (Al Nasr), Garry Rodrigues (Olympiakos), Lisandro Semedo (Fortuna Sittard), Willy Semedo (Pafos), Gilson Tavares (Estoril), Julio Tavares (Al Faisaly).