CAPE VERDE RAISES FLAG HIGH: A New Footballing Country Has Emerged In Africa

when the Super Eagles of Nigeria drew with Cape Verde, we all thought it was just a friendly game. But before then, they had eliminated Cameroon on a 3 - 2 aggregate to qualify for  Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in South Africa. And many pundits felt it was a flash in pan. But now, their performance at the group stage of AFCON 2013 is sending a signal that a new footballing nation has just emerged in Africa.

In just a space of one year, Cape Verde national football team has moved from being a minnow to a giant killer and now, a true contender for AFCON 2013 trophy.

Cape Verde team qualified for the quarter final stage in style. Placed second, though at the same point with South Africa which topped the group. What you may term as an incredible  performance for a team participating in the tournament for the first time. The team drew with South Africa and Morocco, and went on to defeat Angola in the most grandest style. Coming from a 0 - 1 deficit to beat Angolan team 2 - 1 at the final minutes of the game. I can tell you, from now on anything can happen!

Cape Verde national team, nicknamed Tubarces Azuis (Blue Sharks) is emerging on the spotlight like a wale out of the blues. Not many would find it easy to trace on the map this tiny country among 15 islands around South African delta area; with a population of 500, 000 people. And most of the citizens live outside the country. A country that got her independence from Portugal in 1975.

 Today, we have discovered an island of footballers. Though, most of the players now play for other countries, you may never know that there are many world class players that are native of this island: Nani, Manuel Fenandez, Eliseu, Rolando Nelson Marco and Silvestre Varela, who all represented Portugal. Mickael Tavares, Jacques and Ricardo faty - represented senegal; Patrick Veira (France); Gelson Fernandez (Switzerland); Henik Larsson (Sweden); David mendes da Silva (Netherlands); and Rui (Equatorial Guinea) among other examples.

Perhaps, what may surprise you the most is the team doesn't have a professional coach. Head coach, Lucio Antunes is an air traffic controller and only manages the team on part time. And this 46 years old enigmatic coach, who shadowed his friend, Real Madrid Coach, Jose Mourinho, has succeeded in raising Cape Verde's Flag high on the African spotlight.

"We come to stay," the bemused coach said, "It is far easier and fun to be a football coach than an air traffic controller, because you have enormous responsibility when there are so many planes flying around. I better go for the coaching job. I feel I can help my country be in Brazil 2014 World cup. That would be the next target after this."

"By this we can create more awareness for our country's tourist attractions. Many people may have just heard about our country for the first time. Soon investors may be looking our way." Truly, the future hold a lot of beautiful thing for this fine football team. Watch out for Cape Verde!

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