Africa Cup of Nations Preview: Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks ready to make a big splash

By Amílcar Tavares*

Almost one fifth of Cape Verde’s population would fit in the stands of The Calabash, the 95,000-capacity stadium where the Blue Sharks will today play their first ever Africa Cup of Nations match. Being recognised as one of the 16 best African national teams is a milestone in the country’s sports history, and the highlight thus far was when Cape Verde defeated four-time Afcon winners, Cameroon, 3-2 on aggregate in qualifying (with a memorable 2-0 win at Estádio da Várzea, Praia City, in the first leg). When the victory in Yaoundé was official, fireworks went off. Car horns honked from the street. There were huge parties on each of the nine inhabited islands. Hundreds of people waited all night long at the airport and they cheered and applauded the national team when they arrived home at 5:40 am. (For a sense of the national mood on the eve of Afcon 2013, see the music video above).  Continue reading