AFCON 2023 – Cape Verde: Squad, group, fixtures and opponents

Coached by Bubista, Cape Verde is set to take part in the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024.

In this article, we'll share all the information you need to know about the Blue Sharks.

For the record, 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.

AFCON 2023: Cape Verde team schedule

Cape Verde's opponents in Group F are Ghana, Mozambique, and Egypt. The Tubarões Azuls will play their three group stage matches at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium (45,000 seats) in Abidjan.

January 14, 9:00 PM: Ghana vs. Cape Verde, Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium

January 19, 3:00 PM: Cape Verde vs. Mozambique, Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium

January 22, 9:00 PM: Cape Verde vs. Egypt, Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium

How did Cape Verde qualify for AFCON 2024?

In the qualifying Group B for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Cape Verde finished in second place with ten points, just behind Burkina Faso with eleven points. The Blue Sharks accumulated three victories, one draw, and two defeats.

  • Matchday 1: Burkina Faso 2-0 Cape Verde
  • Matchday 2: Cape Verde 2-0 Togo
  • Matchday 3: Cape Verde 0-0 Eswatini
  • Matchday 4: Eswatini 0-1 Cape Verde
  • Matchday 5: Cape Verde 3-1 Burkina Faso
  • Matchday 6: Togo 3-2 Cape Verde

Cape Verde's last 10 matches before AFCON 2024

  • Eswatini 0-2 Cape Verde – 2026 World Cup qualifiers
  • Cape Verde 0-0 Angola – 2026 World Cup qualifiers
  • Cape Verde 1-2 Comoros – Friendly
  • Algeria 5-1 Cape Verde – Friendly
  • Togo 3-2 Cape Verde – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Cape Verde 3-1 Burkina Faso – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Morocco 0-0 Cape Verde – Friendly
  • Eswatini 0-1 Cape Verde – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Cape Verde 0-0 Eswatini – AFCON 2023 qualifiers
  • Bahrain 1-2 Cape Verde – Friendly

Cape Verde: The underdog turned contender?

The Cape Verde national team have made significant progress over the past decade. The Tubarões Azuls participated in the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 2013, reaching the quarter-finals—a historic feat. Although present in the subsequent edition, they were eliminated in the group stage.

They missed out on the 2017 and 2019 editions but made a comeback in Cameroon during the last edition held in 2022. The Blue Sharks were eliminated in the round of 16 by the eventual champions, Senegal, leaving a positive impression.

Last June, they notably held the Lions of the Atlas to a goalless draw in a friendly match in Rabat, Morocco, and later defeated Burkina Faso 3-1. These encouraging results opened up significant opportunities for the small island nation.

However, a series of three defeats in five matches, including a heavy 5-1 loss to Algeria, raised doubts about Cape Verde's actual level and ability to replicate the success of 2022 or 2013.

Cape Verde coach: Bubista

Former Cape Verde international (28 caps), Bubista, like many players, shifted to coaching after his playing career. After gaining experience in various clubs in the local top-flight (Mindelense, Académica do Mindelo, Sporting Clube da Praia, and Batuque), the 53-year-old former defender took charge of the Cape Verde national team in January 2020.

Still in charge four years later, he has brought stability to the national team. Following their impressive performance in Cameroon two years ago, Bubista undoubtedly hopes to once again reach the knockout stage in Ivory Coast, aiming to prove that Cape Verde is now a force to be reckoned with in African football.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon sport

Player to watch – Bebé Tiago Correia

Known as Bebé, aged 33, became an international player only in March 2022 but has already earned 15 caps and scored 5 goals for the Cape Verde national team. His successful international debut isn't surprising given his impressive resume.

He briefly played for Manchester United at the start of his career (seven matches, two goals). He then had a career in Portugal's top division (Rio Ave, Paços, and Benfica) before moving to Spain, where he alternated between the first and second divisions.

This season in La Liga with Rayo Vallecano, the winger has played 12 matches, scoring two goals for the club based in the Vallecas neighbourhood in Madrid. In total, he has played 155 games in the Spanish top flight, scoring ten goals.

Not the most prolific scorer, but his experience at the highest level will undoubtedly benefit the Tubarões Azuls in this Africa Cup of Nations, his first major continental tournament.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

Cape Verde's squad for AFCON 2024

Goalkeepers

Josimar Dias ‘Vozinha’ – (AS Trencin – Slovakia), Marcio da Rosa – (Anadia FC -Portugal), Dylan Silva (Sintrense – Portugal), and Bruno Varela (Guimarães – Portugal).

Defenders:

Roberto Lopes ‘Pico' (Shamrock Rovers – Ireland), Diney Borges (Al Bataeh – UAE), Dylan Costa (Toulouse – France), João Correia (Desp. Chaves -Portugal), Steven Moreira (Columbus -USA), Delmiro Nascimento (AEZ Zakakiou – Cyprus).

Midfielders

Jamiro Monteiro (Dj Earthquakes- USA), Kenny Rocha (AEZ Zakakiou- Belgique) Deroy Duarte (Fortuna Sittard – Pays-Bas), Carlos Fernandes ‘Cuca' – (União de Leiria – Portugal), Leandro Andrade – (Qarabag – Azerbaïdjan), Patrick Andrade (Qarabag – Azerbaïdjan) and João Paulo Fernandes (Sheriff – Moldavie).

Attackers

Ryan Mendes (Karagumruk – Turquie), Garry Rodrigues (Ankaragucu – Turquie), Willy Semedo (Omonia – Chypre), Tiago Correia ‘Bebé' (Rayo Vallecano – Espagne), Bryan Teixeira (Sturm Graz – Autriche) and Hélio Varela ( Portimonense – Portugal)

AFCON 2023 – Cape Verde: Squad, group, fixtures and opponents
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.