After missing the last two Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) editions, Cape Verde will be back at the Total AFCON, Cameroon 2021 with great ambitions and appetite for success.
“You cannot imagine the people’s joy after beating Mozambique 1-0 to qualify,” President of Cape Verde Football Federation (FCF) Mario Semedo told CAFOnline.com with a big smile, after seeing his team reaching the continental showpiece, rescheduled to January 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We always believed we will be back at AFCON, because even when we had four successive draws, we felt this team is capable of turning things around,” he added.
“Alin tá bai, alin tá bai”
✈️ CAN 2021, que se disputa em janeiro de 2022 nos Camarões ✅
Este é o nosso #MondayMotivaton e contamos com todos na maior prova a nível de seleções africanas https://t.co/UZCpdeWnj1#caboverde #tubaroesazuis #TotalAFCON #TotalAFCONQ2021 pic.twitter.com/9wQjqaSfYq— Federação Cabo-verdiana de Futebol (@fcfcomunica) April 5, 2021
Without being unrealistic, Cape Verde hopes to do as well as they did in 2013, when they reached the quarterfinals at their AFCON debut.
The team’s manager Pedro Leitao Brito “Bubista”, a former Cape Verdean player, said his side is feeling “great satisfaction”.
“It is a great satisfaction to see our team succeeding in qualification. We have achieved something very important,” he said, stressing that the work must continue by investing in local football to have more competitive youth teams.
“Today it’s hard to have long-term plans because our youth are leaving quickly. But there is no choice, if we want to go far, we need to invest locally,” he added, welcoming the programs put in place by the Cape Verdean Football Federation.
These programs, which rely on several infrastructures, revolve around the multiplication of competitions at all levels.
“Moreover, in May-June, we plan to hold the national championships which will bring together the champions of various regional associations,” Bubista noted, regretting that some regions will not be able to send their representatives, as they have been unable to organize competitions because of COVID-19.
As a part of their development program, the Cape Verdean Football Federation plans for founding three academies to train young people in the coming years.
“The potential is there, it just needs a good follow-up to give good results,” Bubista added.
The current “Blue Sharks” results also have an impact on women’s football, noted the General Coordinator Tatiana Carvalho, recalling that recruitment is done in neighborhoods and schools.
“It is happy to note that young girls come and say they desire to play football”, rejoiced Carvalho, a former player who spent several years of studies in Brazil where she noticed the level of development and organization of women’s football.
FCF President Mario Semedo said, “it is we who fully support the national teams concerning their transport, bonuses and accommodation”, noting however that for the last trip to Maputo, the State agreed to take 70 percent of the charges.
“It’s very heavy for a Federation like ours,” he commented, stressing that the development of local football takes a large part of the budget.
At this level, FCF can count on the new association of football coaches set up in January and led by Juanito Carvalho, who led the local “Blue Sharks” to the WAFU Cup of Nations in September 2019.
“The potential is huge and that is why we have set up this Coaches Association to help train technicians and also young footballers,” he added, noting that now with this association, it is planned to continue training for coaches.
“With the help of the Federation, CAF and FIFA, training sessions will take place to improve the level of our coaches,” he added. “We have local talents; they just need early and continuous care to shine.”