Sports Mole previews Thursday’s World Cup Qualifying – Africa clash between Cape Verde and Angola, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Both sides have been drawn in Group D of the qualifiers, alongside Eswatini, Mauritius, 1982 Africa Cup of Nations winners Libya and five-time African champions Cameroon.
Cape Verde failed to stop the rot last time out as they fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat against Comoros when the sides squared off in a friendly matchup on October 17.
In a game where Steve Furtado received his marching orders, Adel Mahamoud and Younes Almindhoiri scored second-half goals to cancel out Kenny Rocha Santos‘s third-minute opener and hand Les Coelacantes their first win in four matches.
With that result, Cape Verde have now lost each of their last three matches across all competitions, including a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Togo in their last game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on September 10.
Despite their loss to Togo, the Blue Sharks finished second in Group B of the qualifiers, one point off first-placed Burkina Faso to secure successive appearances at the bi-annual continental showpiece.
Following a four-year absence from the Africa Cup of Nations, Cape Verde returned to the tournament in 2021, when they reached the round of 16 before suffering a 2-0 loss against Senegal.
Following three straight games on the road, Bubista‘s side now return to home soil, where they are currently on a four-game unbeaten run and have lost just one of their last seven matches, claiming four wins and two draws since October 2021.
Cape Verde will head into Thursday looking to extend this impressive home form and snap their losing streak as they eye a first-ever World Cup appearance in 2026.
Like the hosts, Angola enjoyed a successful run in the 2024 AFCON qualifiers as they finished as runners-up in Group E to secure a return to the continental tournament.
Having missed out in 2021 after a disappointing qualifying campaign, the Central Africans picked up two wins, three draws and lost one of their six matches to collect nine points and finish two points above third-placed Central African Republic.
Since then, Angola have struggled for results as they suffered a 4-0 hammering against Iran in a friendly on September 12 before playing out successive draws against Mozambique and Congo DR respectively.
The Black Sable Antelopes now turn their attention to the World Cup qualifiers, where they will be looking to clinch just their second appearance in the tournament.
Pedro Goncalves‘s men featured in the 2006 World Cup, where they picked up two draws and lost one of their three group-stage matches to finish third in Group D.
While Angola will look to begin their qualification journey on a winning note, they have struggled for results away from home, where they have managed just one win in their last six outings since November 2022.
Cape Verde form (all competitions):
Angola form (all competitions):
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Cape Verde have named a 24-man squad for their qualifying games against Angola and Eswatini, including veteran goalkeeper Vozinha, who is three appearances shy of becoming the nation’s most-capped player.
Cape Verde possible starting lineup:
Vozinha; Pico, Tavares, Costa, Paulo; Duarte, Santos; Andrade, Mendes, Bebe; Rodrigues
Angola possible starting lineup:
Neblu; Afonso, Gaspar, Buatu, Fortuna; Fredy, Paz; Show, Balburdia, Luvumbo; Malbululu
We say: Cape Verde 1-0 Angola
After a difficult three months, Cape Verde and Angola will head into Thursday looking to pick up a morale-boosting result and kick off their qualifying campaign on the right note. Bubista’s men have home advantage in their favour, and given that they are unbeaten in four straight competitive home games since January 2022, we fancy them coming out on top in this one.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.