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Cape Verde AFCON 2023 Team Profile – The Blue Sharks’ quest continues

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They went to the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams after overcoming a group that comprised the hosts, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia. Senegal, who finally won the tournament, put an end to their trip once more. Cape Verde has significant challenges from Egypt and Ghana, as well as the unpredictable Mozambique, as they prepare for the 2023 AFCON, making their route to triumph unknown yet hopeful.

Following early problems in qualifying for the event, Cape Verde has slowly developed a continuous presence at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The Blue Sharks made their debut in 2013 and made a mark by progressing from Group A with hosts South Africa. They advanced to the knockout round after defeating Angola in the third group game, but their adventure ended in the quarter-finals against Ghana, with Mubarak Wakaso’s brace sealing their fate.

In 2015, their return to Equatorial Guinea proved more difficult, as they placed third in a tough group, after Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Cape Verde was missing from the competition in 2017 and 2019, but they returned in 2021, contested in Cameroon.

They went to the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams after overcoming a group that comprised the hosts, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia.

Senegal, who finally won the tournament, put an end to their trip once more. Cape Verde has significant challenges from Egypt and Ghana, as well as the unpredictable Mozambique, as they prepare for the 2023 AFCON, making their route to triumph unknown yet hopeful.

AFCON 2023 Matches
14 January 2024: Ghana v Cape Verde

19 January 2024: Cape Verde v Mozambique

22 January 2024: Cape Verde v Egypt

Key Players to Watch

Ryan Mendes:

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  • Ryan Mendes, the Blue Sharks’ most capped player with 69 games and joint-best scorer in team history, emerges as the side’s go-to striker in the next campaign.
  • The 33-year-old, known for his goal-scoring prowess across numerous teams in Europe and Asia, hopes to add to his national team record.

Vozinha (Josimar Dias):

  • Josimar Dias, known as Vozinha and the elder member of the squad, is set to use his knowledge to help Cape Verde’s chances in the competition.
  • The 37-year-old is a regular for AS Trencin in the Slovak first flight, where he has eight clean sheets in 16 games.

Garry Rodrigues:

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  • Garry Rodrigues of Ancaragucu brings offensive flair to the team, having previously played for Galatasaray and Olympiacos.
  • The Dutch-born winger has scored once and assisted once in five AFCON appearances. As he nears the end of his career, the 33-year-old sees the forthcoming tournament as an opportunity to shine and contribute to his team’s success.

Coach: Bubista (Pedro Leitão Brito)

Bobista Pedro Leitao Brito

Bubista, Pedro Leito Brito, has been entrusted with leading the squad in another important competition. After leading the Blue Sharks to the round of 16 in the 2021 edition, the 53-year-old coach is anticipated to build on the team’s achievements and maybe carry it further, aiming for victory in the tournament’s latter stages.

Team Statistics:

Appearances so far: 3

Best Results: Quarterfinals in 2013

Worst performance: Group stage in 2015

Most capped player: Ryan Mendes with 69 appearances

Captain: Vozinha (Josimar Dias)

Top scorer: Héldon Ramos 15 goals in 52 appearances

The AFCON tournament will start on January 13, 2024 and conclude on February 11.

Source: 3news.com

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Rigobert Song steps down as Cameroon head coach

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"We have not achieved our objectives, and our executive committee and I do not see ourselves renewing the contract (with Song)," Eto'o was quoted as saying by France 24. Song, Eto'o's former international teammate, was named Cameroon manager in February 2022. Under his guidance, the Indomitable Lions qualified for the Qatar World Cup with a stunning extra-time victory over Algeria.

Rigobert Song has resigned as Cameroon’s head coach, according to Samuel Eto’o, president of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot).

This follows Cameroon’s poor performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, where they were ousted in the final 16 by Nigeria.

Eto’o indicated that the decision to break ways with Song was based on the team’s inability to accomplish its goals and that the executive committee and he did not consider extending Song’s contract as an option.

“We have not achieved our objectives, and our executive committee and I do not see ourselves renewing the contract (with Song),” Eto’o was quoted as saying by France 24.

Song, Eto’o’s former international teammate, was named Cameroon manager in February 2022.

Under his guidance, the Indomitable Lions qualified for the Qatar World Cup with a stunning extra-time victory over Algeria.

Cameroon, on the other hand, struggled throughout the competition, finishing last in the group stage despite a surprise victory over Brazil in the last game.

Eto’o praised Song’s efforts to the team, stating, “Song brought a lot to this team.”

However, he stressed the need to look ahead and find a new coach who can assist the club succeed.

During his tenure, Song supervised 23 matches, winning only six of them. Despite his attempts, Cameroon’s performance under his leadership was judged inadequate, prompting his resignation from the position.

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Zambia crashes Black Queens’ Olympic dreams

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Gifty Assifuah cancelled out her goal 10 minutes later, and the Black Queens moved ahead with a second goal from Doris Boaduwaa to even the aggregate score. Kabange Mupopo forced an equaliser in the 61st minute, but Azumah Bugri scored four minutes later to restore Ghana's advantage and offer them another chance of qualifying.

Ghana’s Black Queens almost lost out on a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, losing to Zambia in the third round of qualifying.

The second leg match finished in an exciting 3-3 tie, giving Zambia a 4-3 aggregate victory courtesy to their 1-0 triumph in the first leg in Accra.

Despite a strong showing by the Black Queens, Zambia’s Cooper Queens won, crushing Ghana’s chances of going to the next round.


Zambia advanced to the next round, where they will face either Morocco or Tunisia, after scoring a free-kick on the stroke of full time.

Zambia opened the scoring in the thrilling match at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, with Barbra Banda scoring after only 11 minutes.

Gifty Assifuah cancelled out her goal 10 minutes later, and the Black Queens moved ahead with a second goal from Doris Boaduwaa to even the aggregate score.


Kabange Mupopo forced an equaliser in the 61st minute, but Azumah Bugri scored four minutes later to restore Ghana’s advantage and offer them another chance of qualifying.

However, that hope was destroyed when Jennifer Cudjoe was sent off for a second yellow card, and the ensuing free kick found the back of the goal.

While the outcome is unfortunate for Ghana, the squad may be proud of their better performance over the first leg.

They will now turn their attention to the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which will take place later this year.

Zambia, on the other hand, advanced to the last qualifying round with strong hopes of earning a place in Paris. Their outstanding performance against Ghana implies that they might be a serious contender in the competition.

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Jordan Ayew scores as Crystal Palace defeat Burnley

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Despite their numerical disadvantage, Burnley held on until the 68th minute, when Ayew sent a pinpoint precise cross that defender Chris Richards met with a thumping header into the bottom corner. Just three minutes later, replacement Matheus Franca linked nicely with Tyrick Mitchell down the left wing, and Ayew tapped in his low cross from close range to make it 2-0. After Vitinho fouled Franca, Jean-Philippe Mateta comfortably took a penalty to secure the win.

Crystal Palace secured a crucial victory in their relegation struggle by overcoming 10-man Burnley 3-0 in new manager Oliver Glasner’s first game.

Ghana forward Jordan Ayew scored one of the goals, extending his impressive record in front of goal. He also assisted, bringing his total goal contributions to ten this season.

Palace controlled possession in the first half but were unable to produce clear-cut chances against a determined Burnley defence. The visitors were reduced to ten men just before halftime when Josh Brownhill was awarded a straight red card for taking down Jefferson Lerma when in on goal.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Burnley held on until the 68th minute, when Ayew sent a precise cross that defender Chris Richards met with a thumping header into the bottom corner.

Just three minutes later, replacement Matheus Franca linked nicely with Tyrick Mitchell down the left wing, and Ayew tapped in his low cross from close range to make it 2-0. After Vitinho fouled Franca, Jean-Philippe Mateta comfortably took a penalty to secure the win.

As Palace grabbed a critical three points, Burnley striker David Datro Fofana had a late goal ruled out for offside. The victory lifts Palace eight points clear of the relegation zone and marks a successful debut for new boss Glasner, who becomes only the second Palace manager to win his first Premier League game in charge.

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