AFCON 2024 – Angola: Squad, group, opponents & schedule

Angola are not traditionally a powerhouse in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024), but they’ve managed to reach the quarter-finals in two of their last five appearances.

For clarity's sake, this year's competition is officially named AFCON 2023 since it was initially scheduled to take place last year but was postponed until January-February 2024.

Here’s all you need to know about the Palancas Negras.

AFCON 2024: Angola calendar

Angola find themselves in Group D of AFCON 2024, where they’ll face Algeria, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. The Palancas Negras are behind Algeria and Burkina Faso in the pecking order for qualification but this is AFCON and upsets are not out of the question.

15 January, 9pm: Algeria – Angola, Bouake Stadium

20 January, 6pm.: Mauritania – Angola, Bouake Stadium

23 January, 9pm Angola – Burkina Faso, Charles-Konan-Banny Stadium

How did the Angola team qualify for AFCON 2024?

Angola booked their place at AFCON 2023 after finishing second in their qualifying group. The Southern African nation was drawn against Ghana, the Central Africa Republic CAR) and Madagascar in Group E and concluded the qualifying series with nine points, just three behind group winners Ghana.

  • Day 1: Angola-Central African Republic (2-1)
  • Day 2: Madagascar-Angola (1-1)
  • Day 3: Ghana-Angola (1-0)
  • Day 4: Angola-Ghana (1-1)
  • Day 5: Central African Republic-Angola (1-2)
  • Day 6: Angola-Madagascar (0-0)

Last 10 Angola matches before AFCON 2024

  • Mauritius-Angola (0-0) – 2026 World Cup Qualifiers
  • Cape Verde-Angola (0-0) – 2026 World Cup Qualifiers
  • Angola-DR Congo (0-0) – Friendly
  • Angola-Mozambique (1-1) – Friendly
  • Iran-Angola (4-0) – Friendly
  • Angola-Madagascar (0-0) – AFCON 2023 Qualifiers
  • Central African Republic-Angola (1-2) – AFCON 2023 Qualifiers
  • Angola-Ghana (1-1) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • Ghana-Angola (1-0) – AFCON 2023 Qualifiers
  • South Africa-Angola (1-1) – Friendly

Angola: The promise of a new dawn?

Angola were very impressive in qualifying for AFCON 2023. The Palancas Negras suffered just one defeat – against Ghana – in six qualifying matches.

Although Pedro Goncalves’ side tends to struggle in front of goal, they are very resolute in defence, which is typified by the clean sheets they’ve kept in each of their last three matches.

Angola, though, have not had a lot of joy in the AFCON in recent years, having failed to qualify in 2021, while also exiting at the group stage in the tournament before that.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

However, the Palancas Negras can draw inspiration from their best runs in the AFCON, which came in 2008 and 2010 when they reached the quarter-finals on each occasion.

It could be a new dawn for Angola in the Ivory Coast, but they need to find a way to score goals if they’re going to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout rounds.

Angola coach at AFCON 2024: Pedro Goncalves

Goncalves has been the head coach of the Angola national team since 2019 and there are very few arguments against his extended stay.

The Portuguese coach has risen through the ranks, first managing the country’s U20 and U23 teams before being appointed as coach of the senior national team.

Last year, he etched his name into Angolan football folklore when he became the first coach to lead the country to qualify for both the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) and the AFCON.

He is also credited with the development of young players and, while at Sporting Lisbon, he is said to have played a key role in the nurturing of Rafael Leao, Eric Dier and Joao Mario.

Goncalves comes across as a very modest man but his tactical nous have always been evident and he and his side will be no pushovers at AFCON 2024.

Player to watch: Zito Luvumbo

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

One of Angola’s brightest prospects at the moment is Zito Luvumbo, who looks ready to lead the line for the Palancas Negras in the Ivory Coast.

The 21-year-old is a player of Serie A side Cagliari but is currently on loan at lower-tier side Como, where he has registered three goals this season.

Despite his relatively young age, Luvumbo has already been capped six times by Angola and will be their player to watch during the AFCON.

Angola team: AFCON 2024 preparation program

Angola have chosen Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as their training camp ahead of AFCON 2024.

Angola’s final squad for AFCON 2024

Goalkeepers

  • Antonio Dominique (Etoile Carouge, Switzerland)
  • Kadu (Oliveira Hospital, Portugal)
  • Neblu (Premeiro Agosto, Angola)

Defenders

  • Eddie Afonso (Petro Atletico, Angola)
  • To Carneiro, Kinito (Petro Atletico, Angola)
  • Loide Augusto (Alanyaspor, Turkey)
  • Jonathan Buatu (Valenciennes, France)
  • Nurio Fortuna (Gent, Belgium)
  • Kialonda Gaspar (Estrela Amadora, Portugal)

Midfielders

  • Beni (Casa Pia, Portugal)
  • Estrela (Erzurumspor, Turkey)
  • Fredy (Eyupspor, Turkey)
  • Keliano Manuel (Estrela Amadora, Portugal)
  • Bruno Paz (Konyaspor, Turkey) 

Forwards

  • Jeremie Bela (Clermont, France)
  • Gelson Dala (Al Wakrah, Qatar)
  • Zito Luvumbo (Cagliari, Italy)
  • Mabululu (Al Ittihad, Egypt)
  • M'bala Nzola (Fiorentina, Italy)
  • Felicio Milson (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Zine (AEK Athens, Greece)
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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.