Cape Verde national football team

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Cape Verde
Nickname(s) Tubarões Azuis
(Blue Sharks)[1]
Crioulos (Creoles)
Association Federação Caboverdiana de Futebol
Confederation CAF (Africa)
Sub-confederation WAFU (West Africa)
Head coach Lúcio Antunes
Captain Marco Soares
Most caps Babanco (50)
Top scorer Héldon Ramos (15)[2]
Home stadium Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 65 Decrease 7 (7 June 2018)
Highest 27 (February 2014)
Lowest 182 (April 2000)
Elo ranking
Current 98 Increase 1 (6 May 2018)
Highest 69 (31 March 2015)
Lowest 146 (August 1998)
First international
 Cape Verde 0–1 Angola 
(Cape Verde; 1978)
Biggest win
 Cape Verde 7–1 São Tomé and Príncipe 
(Praia, Cape Verde; 13 June 2015)
Biggest defeat
 Senegal 5–1 Cape Verde 
(Mali; 12 February 1981)
 Cape Verde 0–4 Ghana 
(Praia, Cape Verde; 8 October 2005)
 Guinea 4–0 Cape Verde 
(Conakry, Guinea; 9 September 2007)
Africa Cup of Nations
Appearances 2 (first in 2013)
Best result Quarter-finals, 2013

The Cape Verde national football team, nicknamed either the Tubarões Azuis (Blue Sharks) or Crioulos (Creoles), is the national team of Cape Verde and is controlled by the Cape Verdean Football Federation.



The Cape Verde became independent from Portugal in 1975. The national team's first international was a 0–3 defeat to Guinea-Bissau in the 1979 Amílcar Cabral Cup.[3] Cape Verde's football association was formed in 1982, and joined FIFA in 1986.[4]

Cape Verdeans abroad, who are more numerous than the population of the islands themselves, are a major source of players for the national team. Most of Cape Verde's current international footballers play outside Cape Verde (mainly in Europe, but also in Asia), and some were born outside the islands.[5]

Several players of Cape Verdean origin have chosen to play for other national teams. These include Eliseu, Nani, Oceano, Manuel Fernandes, Rolando, Nélson Marcos, Jorge Andrade, Miguel and Silvestre Varela, who all represent Portugal, as well as Mickaël Tavares, Jacques and Ricardo Faty (Senegal), Patrick Vieira (France), Gelson Fernandes (Switzerland), Henrik Larsson (Sweden), David Mendes da Silva, Lerin Duarte, Jerson Cabral (Netherlands) and Rui (Equatorial Guinea), among other examples.

World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifiers[edit]

Cape Verde has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup but have qualified for the 2013 African Cup of Nations. Its first World Cup qualifying campaign was the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, in which Cape Verde was eliminated in the first round after one draw and one defeat against Algeria.[6]

In the qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup and the 2006 African Nations Cup, Cape Verde advanced to the Final Round after its first victory in a World Cup qualifier, beating Swaziland. In the Final Round, the team made an impression with its first ever away victory against Burkina Faso, but finished fifth in its group and failed to qualify for either finals.[6]

New coach João de Deus from Portugal brought in several new players from European leagues for the 2010 World Cup/2010 African Nations Cup qualifiers.[5] Cape Verde finished second in its group in the Second round, ahead of Tanzania and Mauritius, but behind Cameroon, and did not advance to the Third round. Cape Verde's top goalscorer of the qualifying campaign was Julio Tavares.

Then, finally, Cape Verde qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, after stunning Cameroon 3–2 on aggregate.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations[edit]

On 14 October 2012, Cape Verde managed to secure their first ever berth in the Finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, when they defeated Cameroon 3–2 on aggregate score, following a 2–1 defeat to Cameroon at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé, having won the home leg 2–0 in Praia just weeks prior to their qualification.

On 24 October 2012, Cape Verde were drawn into Group A of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, alongside Angola, Morocco and the host nation South Africa. Furthermore, Cape Verde played the opening match of the tournament at Soccer City in Johannesburg, Gauteng, against South Africa on 19 January 2013 – Soccer City being the host venue for the 2010 World Cup Final. Pulled from the fourth pot during the group stage drawing of the tournament, Cape Verde actually had the highest FIFA ranking of any team in their group at the time of the drawing, ranking at 51st overall, followed by Morocco (71st), South Africa (72nd) and Angola (83rd). Cape Verde also had the 10th highest FIFA ranking in the CAF zone at the time of the drawing as well.

Cape Verde drew with South Africa 0–0 in the tournament's first match, before drawing with Morocco 1–1. Platini scored Cape Verde's first ever goal at the AFCON, who were unfortunate to let an early lead slip. They however did win their first ever AFCON match against Angola, which they won 2–1 (despite an early own goal by captain Nando Maria Neves), through the late goals from Fernando Varela and Héldon Ramos, thus qualifying for the quarter-finals, and thus reaching the last eight in their maiden appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations.

On 2 February 2013, Cape Verde faced Ghana in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, in the quarter-finals of the tournament. Cape Verde played a good match, with 16 shots on Ghana's goal to their 8, with 7 shots on target to their 2, Cape Verde proved to be especially dangerous from set-pieces, however Ghana's keeper Abdul Dauda managed to keep a clean sheet making some spectacular saves, and with Wakaso Mubarak scoring a penalty kick for Ghana in the 54' minute, and then scoring again in the closing minute of the game (90+5') on an open goal, Ghana would win the match 2–0, to move on to the semi-finals, and ending Cape Verde's exceptional 2013 Africa Cup of Nations campaign.[7]

2015 Africa Cup of Nations[edit]

On 15 October 2014, Cape Verde became the first of two nations to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations alongside Algeria, joining the host nation Equatorial Guinea after defeating Mozambique 1–0 at home.[8] The team, under newly appointed manager Rui Águas, picked up where Lúcio Antunes left off and managed to finish in the top two of the group stage with two matches remaining to play in the qualification process, having been drawn in a group together with Mozambique, Niger and Zambia.[9] On 15 November 2014, Cape Verde secured first place in their group, finishing as Group F winners by defeating Niger 3–1 at home, with one match remaining to play for qualification.[10]

Pooled from Pot 3 on 3 December 2014, Cape Verde were drawn into Group B of the final tournament, together with Zambia, Tunisia and DR Congo. On 18 January 2015 they played their first match against Tunisia at the Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyín. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, with Héldon leveling the score off a penalty kick in the 78-minute. Cape Verde then drew 0–0 against DR Congo four days later, with the advancement out of the group stage depending on the final match results of both teams.[11]

Facing off against Zambia on 26 January 2015, with both teams depending on the result of the other match between Tunisia and DR Congo and having to finish with a win themselves, the match ended in 0–0 draw, leaving both Cape Verde and Zambia eliminated from the Cup.[12] Contested during a tropical storm, with 26 mm of heavy rainfall, Cape Verde exited the tournament tied with DR Congo for points and undefeated, yet losing to DR Congo on goal difference. Exhibiting good form, poise and defensive prowess, the team were only able to score one goal, while exiting at the group stage of their second appearance in the finals of the tournament, while remaining unbeaten in any Cup of Nations group stage match.[13][14]

Other tournaments and notable matches[edit]

Cape Verde has two titles: It hosted and won the Amílcar Cabral Cup in 2000, and won the gold medal in the football tournament at the 2009 Lusophony Games. The team also won a bronze medal at the 2006 Lusophony Games.

For the first time in its history, on 2 November 2002, it faced a non-African team, Luxembourg, in a friendly, resulting in a scoreless draw. On 4 September 2009, it faced Malta in a friendly, resulting in a 2–0 victory. On 24 May 2010, Cape Verde played out a 0–0 draw in a friendly match against a full-strength Portugal.[15] At the time, Portugal was third in the FIFA rankings and Cape Verde were 117th.[16] On 31 March 2015, a second friendly against Portugal resulted in a 2–0 victory in Portugal.[17]


The team used to play their games at Estádio da Várzea. It is located in the capital city, Praia, on the Santiago Island. The stadium opened in 2006 and holds 10,000 people.

In 2014 the new stadium Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde was opened, able to host a capacity of 15,000 people. On 15 October 2014 the team qualified for their second Africa Cup of Nations at the new stadium, in a 1–0 victory over Mozambique, making them the first of all teams in CAF to qualify for the tournament.

World Cup record[edit]

FIFA World Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 to
West Germany 1974
Part of Portugal
Argentina 1978 to
Spain 1982
Not a member of FIFA
Mexico 1986 to
France 1998
Did not enter
South Korea Japan2002 to
Russia 2018
Did not qualify
Qatar 2022 To be determined
Total 0/22 0 0 0 0 0 0

Africa Cup of Nations record[edit]

Titles: 0
Appearances: 2
Year Position Year Position Year Position Year Position
Sudan 1957 Did not enter Ethiopia 1976 Did not enter Tunisia 1994 Did not qualify Equatorial GuineaGabon 2012 Did not qualify
Egypt 1959 Did not enter Ghana 1978 Did not enter South Africa 1996 Withdrew South Africa 2013 7th place
Ethiopia 1962 Did not enter Nigeria 1980 Did not enter Burkina Faso 1998 Did not enter Equatorial Guinea 2015 11th place
Ghana 1963 Did not enter Libya 1982 Did not enter GhanaNigeria 2000 Did not qualify Gabon 2017 Did not qualify
Tunisia 1965 Did not enter Ivory Coast 1984 Did not enter Mali 2002 Did not qualify
Ethiopia 1968 Did not enter Egypt 1986 Did not enter Tunisia 2004 Did not qualify
Sudan 1970 Did not enter Morocco 1988 Did not enter Egypt 2006 Did not qualify
Cameroon 1972 Did not enter Algeria 1990 Did not enter Ghana 2008 Did not qualify
Egypt 1974 Did not enter Senegal 1992 Did not enter Angola 2010 Did not qualify

Recent results and forthcoming fixtures[edit]

For all past match results of the national team, see the team's results page

The following matches were played or are scheduled to be played by the national team in the current or upcoming seasons.





Current squad[edit]

The following players were called up for the friendly match against Luxembourg on 28 March 2017 .[18]
Caps and goal after the match vs. Luxembourg

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Vozinha (1986-06-03) 3 June 1986 (age 32) 24 0 Cyprus AEL Limassol
1GK Iván Cruz (1996-03-03) 3 March 1996 (age 22) 0 0 Portugal Gil Vicente
1GK Thierry Graça (1995-01-27) 27 January 1995 (age 23) 0 0 Portugal Estoril

2DF Fernando Varela (1987-11-26) 26 November 1987 (age 30) 41 3 Greece PAOK
2DF Gegé (1988-02-24) 24 February 1988 (age 30) 25 2 Saudi Arabia Al- Fayha
2DF Carlitos (1985-04-23) 23 April 1985 (age 33) 23 0 Portugal Real SC
2DF Tiago Almeida (1990-09-13) 13 September 1990 (age 27) 3 0 Portugal Uniao Madeira

3MF Babanco (1985-07-27) 27 July 1985 (age 32) 44 3 Portugal Feirense
3MF Marco Soares (1984-06-16) 16 June 1984 (age 34) 32 0 Portugal CD Feirense
3MF Nuno Rocha (1992-03-25) 25 March 1992 (age 26) 10 0 Russia Tosno
3MF Manú (1988-02-23) 23 February 1988 (age 30) 5 0 Portugal Leixões
3MF Jamiro Monteiro (1993-11-23) 23 November 1993 (age 24) 4 0 Netherlands Heracles Almelo
3MF Carlos Ponck (1995-01-13) 13 January 1995 (age 23) 1 0 Portugal Aves
3MF Hélder Tavares (1989-12-26) 26 December 1989 (age 28) 1 0 Portugal Tondela

4FW Wuilito Fernandes (1990-03-23) 23 March 1990 (age 28) 3 0 United States North Carolina FC
4FW Júlio Tavares (1988-11-19) 19 November 1988 (age 29) 15 2 France Dijon
4FW Ze Luis (1991-01-24) 24 January 1991 (age 27) 14 2 Russia Spartak Moscow
4FW Garry Rodrigues (1990-11-27) 27 November 1990 (age 27) 18 2 Turkey Galatasaray
4FW Kuca (1989-08-02) 2 August 1989 (age 28) 14 1 Portugal Boavista
4FW Jovane Cabral (1998-06-14) 14 June 1998 (age 20) 1 0 Portugal Sporting CP B

Recent call-ups[edit]

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Nilson 0 0 Cape Verde Bairro v.  Libya 3 September 2016

DF Stopira (1988-05-20) 20 May 1988 (age 30) 26 0 Hungary Videoton v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
DF Ricardo (1980-08-19) 19 August 1980 (age 37) 14 1 Portugal Paços de Ferreira v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
DF Kay (1988-01-05) 5 January 1988 (age 30) 9 0 Cyprus Omonia v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
DF Steven Fortes (1992-04-17) 17 April 1992 (age 26) 2 0 France Toulouse v.  Libya 3 September 2016

MF Toni Varela (1986-06-13) 13 June 1986 (age 32) 26 1 Austria SV Horn v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
MF Sténio (1988-06-06) 6 June 1988 (age 30) 5 0 Latvia FK Ventspils v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
MF Calú (1983-09-20) 20 September 1983 (age 34) 16 0 Portugal Gil Vicente v.  Libya 3 September 2016

FW Heldon (1988-11-14) 14 November 1988 (age 29) 39 13 Portugal Vitória SC v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
FW Ryan Mendes (1990-01-08) 8 January 1990 (age 28) 24 5 Turkey Kayserispor v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
FW Odaïr Fortes (1987-03-31) 31 March 1987 (age 31) 22 4 India North East United FC v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
FW Djaniny (1991-03-21) 21 March 1991 (age 27) 20 6 Mexico Santos Laguna v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
FW Ricardo Gomes (1991-12-18) 18 December 1991 (age 26) 6 1 Serbia Partizan v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
FW Nuno da Costa (1991-02-10) 10 February 1991 (age 27) 1 1 France Strasbourg v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
FW Jerson Cabral (1991-01-03) 3 January 1991 (age 27) 0 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Senegal 8 October 2016
  • INJ Player missed out due to injury
  • PRE Preliminary squad

Previous squads[edit]

Managers since 2003[edit]



  1. ^ "Conheça as alcunhas das 16 seleções finalistas" [Meet the nicknames of the 16 finalists]. A Bola (in Portuguese). 2 February 2013. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Mamrud, Roberto; Stokkermans, Karel. "Players with 100+ Caps and 30+ International Goals". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Courtney, Barry (5 June 2006). "Cape Verde Islands – List of International matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "Cape Verde Islands". Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Foreign contingent boost Cape Verde". FIFA. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Cape Verde Islands: Profile". FIFA. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  7. ^ "Ghana vs. Cape Verde Islands 2–0". Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "AFCON 2015 ROUND UP: Algeria, Cape Verde qualify, Zambia & Nigeria revive fortunes and Uganda suffers set back". Kawowo Sports. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Rui Águas quer levar seleção à CAN2015". Sapo Desporto. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Cape Verde leave it late to crush Niger". SuperSport. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Cape Verde hit back to deny Tunisia". Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Cape Verde Islands 0–0 DR Congo". BBC. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Afcon 2015: Group B as it happened". BBC. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Cape Verde 0–0 Zambia AFCON 2015: Torrential rain in the second half causes almost unplayable conditions as both sides exit the tournament at the group stages". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Report: Portugal v Cape Verde Islands – International Friendly – ESPN Soccernet". 24 May 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking - Associations - Cape Verde Islands - Men's". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 20 May 2018. 
  17. ^ "Portugal 0 Cape Verde Islands 2". BBC Sport. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Luxembourg vs. Cape Verde Islands - 28 March 2017 - Soccerway". Retrieved 2018-06-03. 
  19. ^ "Futebol: Óscar Duarte na equipa técnica dos Travadores". Sapo Noticias. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  20. ^ "Cape Verde island coach Alhinho resigns". ESPN Soccernet. Reuters. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  21. ^ "Ze Rui appointed Cape Verde coach". BBC. 3 May 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  22. ^ a b "Cape Verde confirm identity of new coach". BBC. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "De Deus New Cape Verde Coach". MTN Football. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  24. ^ "Soccer federation unaware of national selection coach's alleged exit". Asemana. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  25. ^ "Lúcio Antunes tapped as new national soccer team coach". Asemana. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  26. ^ "Lúcio Antunes tapped as new national soccer team coach". BBC Sport. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  27. ^ "Rui Águas é o novo selecionador de Cabo Verde". DN Desporto. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  28. ^ "Lucio Antunes reappointed as Cape Verde coach". soka25east. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2017. 

External links[edit]