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Cape Verde national football team facts for kids

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Cape Verde
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Tubarões Azuis
(Blue Sharks)
Crioulos (Creoles)
Association Federação Caboverdiana de Futebol (FCF)
Confederation CAF (Africa)
Sub-confederation WAFU (West Africa)
Head coach Bubista
Captain Stopira
Most caps Ryan Mendes (75)
Top scorer Ryan Mendes (17)
Home stadium Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde
FIFA code CPV
First colours
Second colours
Third colours
FIFA ranking
Current 74 Decrease 2 (7 February 2019)
Highest 27 (February 2014)
Lowest 182 (April 2000)
Elo ranking
Current 104 Decrease 6 (3 March 2019)
Highest 69 (31 March 2015)
Lowest 146 (August 1998)
First international
 Cape Verde 0–1 Guinea 
(Guinea-Bissau; 19 April 1978)
Biggest win
 Cape Verde 7–1 São Tomé and Príncipe 
(Praia, Cape Verde; 13 June 2015)
 Liechtenstein 0–6 Cape Verde 
(San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain; 25 March 2022)
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)
 Burkina Faso 4–0 Cape Verde 
(Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; 14 November 2017)
 Algeria 5–1 Cape Verde 
(Constantine, Algeria; 12 October 2023)
Africa Cup of Nations
Appearances 4 (first in 2013)
Best result Quarter-finals (2013) , (2023)

The Cape Verde national football team (Portuguese: Seleção nacional de futebol de Cabo Verde; recognized as Cabo Verde by FIFA) represents Cape Verde in men's international football, and is controlled by the Cape Verdean Football Federation. The team has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup, but has qualified for four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, in 2013, 2015, 2021 and 2023. They have reached the quarter finals in 2013 and 2023.

History

Overview

Cape Verde became independent from Portugal in 1975. The national team's first international was a 1–0 defeat to Guinea on 29 May 1978, in a tournament in Guinea-Bissau. The Cape Verdean Football Federation was formed in 1982, and joined FIFA in 1986.

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.

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

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.

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.

Old coach João de Deus from Portugal brought in several new players from European leagues for the 2010 World Cup/2010 African Nations Cup qualifiers. 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 goal scorer of the qualifying campaign was Dady.

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

2013 Africa Cup of Nations

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 eight, with seven shots on target to their two, 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 Mubarak Wakaso 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.

2015 Africa Cup of Nations

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. 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. 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.

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 Estadio de Ebibeyin. 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.

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. 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.

Other tournaments and notable matches

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. At the time, Portugal was third in the FIFA rankings and Cape Verde were 117th. On 31 March 2015, a second friendly against Portugal resulted in a 2–0 victory in Portugal.

Stadiums

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.

Results and fixtures

The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

      Win       Draw       Loss       Fixture

2023

2024

2025

Coaching history

Caretaker managers are listed in italics.
  • Portugal Carlos Alhinho (1985–1986)
  • Portugal Óscar (1998–2003)
  • Portugal Alexandre Alhinho (2003–2006)
  • Cape Verde Ze Rui (2006)
  • Brazil Ricardo da Rocha (2007)
  • Portugal João de Deus (2008–2010)
  • Cape Verde Lúcio Antunes (2010–2013)
  • Portugal Rui Águas (2014–2016)
  • Cape Verde Beto (2016)
  • Cape Verde Lúcio Antunes (2016–2018)
  • Portugal Rui Águas (2018–2019)
  • Cape Verde Janito Carvalho (2019–2020)
  • Cape Verde Bubista (2020–present)

Players

Current squad

The following players have been selected for the 2024 FIFA Series in March 2024.

Caps and goals correct as of 26 March 2024, after the match against Equatorial Guinea.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Vozinha (1986-06-03) 3 June 1986 (age 38) 74 0 Slovakia AS Trenčín
12 1GK Dylan Silva (1999-02-10) 10 February 1999 (age 25) 0 0 Portugal Sintrense
22 1GK Tiago Gomes (2002-08-14) 14 August 2002 (age 21) 0 0 Belgium Union Saint-Gilloise

2 2DF Jójó (2001-05-19) 19 May 2001 (age 23) 1 0 Portugal Paços de Ferreira
3 2DF Kristopher Da Graca (1998-01-16) 16 January 1998 (age 26) 1 0 Finland HJK
4 2DF Roberto Lopes (1992-06-17) 17 June 1992 (age 31) 30 0 Republic of Ireland Shamrock Rovers
5 2DF Logan Costa (2001-04-01) 1 April 2001 (age 23) 17 0 France Toulouse
13 2DF Erik Duarte (1996-10-31) 31 October 1996 (age 27) 0 0 Cape Verde Académica
18 2DF Wagner Pina (2002-11-03) 3 November 2002 (age 21) 1 0 Portugal Estoril
23 2DF Kelvin Pires (2000-06-05) 5 June 2000 (age 24) 2 0 Slovakia AS Trenčín

6 3MF Patrick Andrade (1993-02-09) 9 February 1993 (age 31) 20 0 Azerbaijan Qarabağ
8 3MF João Paulo (1998-05-26) 26 May 1998 (age 26) 23 1 Moldova Sheriff Tiraspol
14 3MF Deroy Duarte (1999-07-04) 4 July 1999 (age 24) 17 0 Netherlands Fortuna Sittard
16 3MF Kevin Pina Lenini (1997-01-27) 27 January 1997 (age 27) 13 2 Russia Krasnodar
19 3MF Diogo Mendes (1998-01-24) 24 January 1998 (age 26) 1 0 Portugal Maritimo

7 4FW Lisandro Semedo (1996-03-12) 12 March 1996 (age 28) 19 2 Poland Radomiak Radom
9 4FW Dailon Livramento (2001-05-04) 4 May 2001 (age 23) 1 0 Netherlands MVV Maastricht
10 4FW Jovane Cabral (1998-06-14) 14 June 1998 (age 25) 12 2 Greece Olympiacos
11 4FW Hildeberto Pereira (1996-03-02) 2 March 1996 (age 28) 1 0 Portugal Portimonense
15 4FW Clé (1997-12-12) 12 December 1997 (age 26) 5 1 Cyprus AEZ Zakakiou
17 4FW Hélio Varela (2002-05-03) 3 May 2002 (age 22) 5 0 Portugal Portimonense
20 4FW Ryan Mendes (vice-captain) (1990-01-08) 8 January 1990 (age 34) 77 18 Turkey Fatih Karagümrük
21 4FW Carlos Fortes (1994-11-09) 9 November 1994 (age 29) 1 0 United Arab Emirates Al Dhafra

Recent call-ups

The following players have been called up for Cape Verde in the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Márcio Rosa (1997-02-23) 23 February 1997 (age 27) 1 0 Portugal Anadia vs. 2023 AFCON
GK Bruno Varela (1994-11-04) 4 November 1994 (age 29) 1 0 Portugal Vitória Guimaraes vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
GK Keven Ramos (1994-06-06) 6 June 1994 (age 30) 1 0 Cape Verde Batuque vs.  Burkina Faso, 18 June 2023

DF Stopira (captain) (1988-05-20) 20 May 1988 (age 36) 58 3 Cape Verde Boavista do Praia vs. 2023 AFCON
DF Dylan Tavares (1996-08-30) 30 August 1996 (age 27) 20 1 France Bastia vs. 2023 AFCON
DF Diney (1995-01-17) 17 January 1995 (age 29) 19 0 United Arab Emirates Al Bataeh vs. 2023 AFCON
DF Steven Moreira (1994-08-13) 13 August 1994 (age 29) 7 0 United States Columbus Crew vs. 2023 AFCON
DF Ponck (1995-01-13) 13 January 1995 (age 29) 23 0 Portugal Moreirense vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
DF Steve Furtado (1994-11-22) 22 November 1994 (age 29) 16 0 Bulgaria CSKA 1948 vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
DF Steven Fortès (1992-04-17) 17 April 1992 (age 32) 13 0 France Rouen vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
DF João Correia (1996-09-05) 5 September 1996 (age 27) 4 0 Portugal Chaves vs. 2023 AFCON DEC
DF Nica Panduru Morais Lopes (1995-11-29) 29 November 1995 (age 28) 2 0 Cape Verde Boavista do Praia vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
DF Delmiro Nascimento (1988-08-19) 19 August 1988 (age 35) 1 0 Cyprus AEZ Zakakiou vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
DF Sidny Lopes Cabral (2002-09-18) 18 September 2002 (age 21) 1 0 Germany Rot-Weiß Erfurt vs.  Comoros, 17 October 2023
DF Romario Carvalho (1993-11-20) 20 November 1993 (age 30) 0 0 Portugal Oliveira do Hospital vs.  Togo, 10 September 2023
DF Ivanildo Fernandes (1996-03-01) 1 March 1996 (age 28) 2 0 United Arab Emirates Ittihad Kalba vs.  Burkina Faso, 18 June 2023

MF Jamiro Monteiro (1993-11-23) 23 November 1993 (age 30) 37 4 Turkey Gaziantep vs. 2023 AFCON
MF Kenny Rocha Santos (2000-01-03) 3 January 2000 (age 24) 29 1 Cyprus AEZ Zakakiou vs. 2023 AFCON
MF Cuca (1991-01-09) 9 January 1991 (age 33) 11 0 Portugal União de Leiria vs. 2023 AFCON
MF Laros Duarte (1997-02-28) 28 February 1997 (age 27) 2 0 Netherlands Groningen vs. 2023 AFCON
MF Hélder Tavares (1989-12-26) 26 December 1989 (age 34) 14 0 Portugal Tondela vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
MF Leandro Andrade (1999-09-24) 24 September 1999 (age 24) 6 0 Azerbaijan Qarabağ vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
MF Vasco Lopes (1990-09-02) 2 September 1990 (age 33) 4 0 Portugal AVS vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
MF Yannick Semedo (1995-12-29) 29 December 1995 (age 28) 1 0 Portugal Santa Clara vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
MF David Tavares (1999-03-18) 18 March 1999 (age 25) 4 0 Portugal Torreense vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
MF Hildeberto Pereira (1996-03-02) 2 March 1996 (age 28) 1 0 China Henan vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
MF Bruno Freire (1999-03-27) 27 March 1999 (age 25) 0 0 Luxembourg Dudelange vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
MF Joao Paulo Monteiro Soares (1997-12-01) 1 December 1997 (age 26) 0 0 Cape Verde Palmeira vs. 2023 AFCON PRE

FW Bebé (1990-07-12) 12 July 1990 (age 33) 20 6 Spain Rayo Vallecano vs.  Guyana, 21 March 2024 INJ
FW Garry Rodrigues (1990-11-27) 27 November 1990 (age 33) 52 8 Turkey Ankaragücü vs. 2023 AFCON
FW Willy Semedo (1994-04-27) 27 April 1994 (age 30) 22 0 Cyprus Omonia vs. 2023 AFCON
FW Gilson Tavares (2001-12-29) 29 December 2001 (age 22) 15 5 Portugal Benfica B vs. 2023 AFCON
FW Bryan Teixeira (2000-09-01) 1 September 2000 (age 23) 7 1 Germany 1. FC Magdeburg vs. 2023 AFCON
FW Júlio Tavares (1988-11-19) 19 November 1988 (age 35) 48 8 Saudi Arabia Al Raed vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
FW Djaniny (1991-03-21) 21 March 1991 (age 33) 35 6 Saudi Arabia Al Fateh vs. 2023 AFCON PRE INJ
FW Duk (2000-02-16) 16 February 2000 (age 24) 5 0 Scotland Aberdeen vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
FW Patrick Fernandes (1993-12-13) 13 December 1993 (age 30) 4 0 Portugal Torreense vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
FW Papalélé (1998-03-16) 16 March 1998 (age 26) 2 1 Czech Republic Karviná vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
FW Alessio da Cruz (1997-01-18) 18 January 1997 (age 27) 1 0 Netherlands Fortuna Sittard vs. 2023 AFCON PRE
FW Serginho (2001-01-29) 29 January 2001 (age 23) 1 0 Denmark Viborg vs. 2023 AFCON PRE

WD Player withdrew from the squad due to non-injury issue.
INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
PRE Preliminary squad.
RET Player has retired from international football.
SUS Suspended from the national team.

Records

Players in bold are still active with Cape Verde.

Most appearances

Ryan Mendes (LOSC Lille)
Ryan Mendes is Cape Verde's most capped player with 75 appearances.
Rank Player Caps Goals Career
1 Ryan Mendes 75 17 2010–present
2 Vozinha 72 0 2012–present
3 Babanco 62 5 2007–2019
4 Stopira 58 3 2007–present
5 Héldon 52 15 2008–2019
Marco Soares 52 3 2006–2021
Fernando Varela 52 3 2008–2019
Garry Rodrigues 52 8 2013–present
9 Júlio Tavares 48 8 2012–present
10 Lito 47 7 2002–2012

Top goalscorers

Rank Player Goals Caps Ratio Career
1 Ryan Mendes 17 75 0.23 2010–present
2 Héldon 15 52 0.29 2008–2019
3 Caló 11 27 0.41 1995–2007
4 Júlio Tavares 8 48 0.17 2012–present
Garry Rodrigues 8 52 0.15 2013–present
6 Lito 7 47 0.15 2002–2012
7 Bebé 6 20 0.3 2022–present
Djaniny 6 35 0.17 2012–present
8 Toni 5 11 0.45 2000–2002
Cafú 5 15 0.33 2003–2007
Dady 5 23 0.22 2005–2012
Odaïr Fortes 5 29 0.17 2010–2016
Babanco 5 62 0.08 2007–2019

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup Qualification
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
1930 to 1974 Part of  Portugal Part of  Portugal
1978 and 1982 Not a member of FIFA Not a member of FIFA
1986 to 1998 Did not enter Did not enter
South Korea Japan 2002 Did not qualify 2 0 1 1 0 2
Germany 2006 12 4 2 6 12 16
South Africa 2010 6 3 0 3 7 8
Brazil 2014 6 3 0 3 9 7
Russia 2018 8 3 0 5 6 13
Qatar 2022 6 3 2 1 8 6
Canada Mexico United States 2026 To be determined 2 1 1 0 2 0
Morocco Portugal Spain 2030 To be determined
Saudi Arabia 2034
Total 0/10 0 0 0 0 0 0 42 17 6 19 44 52

Africa Cup of Nations

Titles: 0
Appearances: 4
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA Squad
Sudan 1957 Part of  Portugal
United Arab Republic 1959
Ethiopia 1962
Ghana 1963
Tunisia 1965
Ethiopia 1968
Sudan 1970
Cameroon 1972
Egypt 1974
Ethiopia 1976 Not a member of CAF
Ghana 1978
Nigeria 1980
Libya 1982
Ivory Coast 1984
Egypt 1986
Morocco 1988
Algeria 1990
Senegal 1992
Tunisia 1994 Did not qualify
South Africa 1996 Withdrew
Burkina Faso 1998 Did not enter
Ghana Nigeria 2000 Did not qualify
Mali 2002
Tunisia 2004
Egypt 2006
Ghana 2008
Angola 2010
Equatorial Guinea Gabon 2012
South Africa 2013 Quarter-finals 7th 4 1 2 1 3 4 Squad
Equatorial Guinea 2015 Group stage 11th 3 0 3 0 1 1 Squad
Gabon 2017 Did not qualify
Egypt 2019
Cameroon 2021 Round of 16 15th 4 1 1 2 2 4 Squad
Ivory Coast 2023 Quarter-finals 5th 5 3 2 0 9 3 Squad
Morocco 2025 To be determined
Kenya Tanzania Uganda 2027
Total Quarter-finals 4/36 16 5 8 3 15 12

Honours

  • Amílcar Cabral Cup:
    • Champions: 2000
    • Runners-up: 2007
    • Third place: 1995
  • Lusophony Games
    • Gold medal: 2009
    • Bronze medal: 2006

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Cabo Verde para niños

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