Cape Verde and Angola are set to kickstart their journey towards the 2026 FIFA World Cup as they face off at the Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde on Thursday in Group D of the qualifiers.
Cape Verde faced a setback in their recent friendly against Comoros, suffering a 2-1 defeat despite Kenny Rocha Santos’s early goal.
Les Coelacantes turned the game around with goals from Adel Mahamoud and Younes Almindhoiri.
This defeat adds to Cape Verde’s three consecutive losses across various competitions, including a 3-2 loss against Togo in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Despite these setbacks, Cape Verde secured a second-place finish in the AFCON qualifiers, earning them a spot at the continental tournament.
They return to their home ground after three away games, aiming to continue their unbeaten run at home, having won four of their last seven matches since October 2021.
Angola, having clinched a runner-up position in the 2024 AFCON qualifiers, seeks a strong start in the World Cup qualifiers.
Although they struggled recently with a 4-0 loss to Iran and consecutive draws against Mozambique and Congo DR, they aim to secure only their second World Cup appearance.
Pedro Goncalves’s men, who participated in the 2006 World Cup, strive to replicate or surpass their previous performance.
However, their away form, with just one win in six outings since November 2022, poses a challenge.
Cape Verde has called up 24-man squad, including experienced goalkeeper Vozinha and striker Ryan Mendes, who aims to surpass Heldon in the nation’s scoring chart.
Angola’s camp features defensive stalwarts Nurio Fortuna and Anderson Lucoqui among their 25-man squad, with Fredy as the most-capped player.
Pico, Tavares, Costa, Paulo;
Andrade, Mendes, Bebe;
Afonso, Gaspar, Buatu, Fortuna;
Show, Balburdia, Luvumbo;
Prediction: Cape Verde 1-0 Angola
Both Cape Verde and Angola seek a morale-boosting start after recent challenges. With Cape Verde’s strong home record, unbeaten in competitive games since January 2022, they are favored to secure a victory in this opening clash.