Cape Verde AFCON 2023 Preview and Predicted XI

The 2023 edition marks only a fourth AFCON appearance for Cape Verde. But that is quite impressive when considering that they didn't debut until 2010. As such, this Cape Verde AFCON 2023 preview will look at a rising nation's chances of mixing with bigger and far more esteemed countries.

How did Cape Verde qualify for AFCON?

Boasting a respectable FIFA ranking of 74, Cape Verde were up against it in a Group B containing Burkina Faso, Togo and Eswatini during qualification.

But they managed to secure second spot ahead of Togo, booking their fourth appearance at the AFCON thanks to three wins and two draws, putting them two points ahead of Togo in third.

Current rankings and odds suggest that Cape Verde will edge the fight with matchday three opponents Mozambique. Photo by Icon sport

Cape Verde AFCON 2023 Preview

Who will Cape Verde play at AFCON 2023?

Egypt

Egypt were almost perfect throughout qualifying, winning five of their six games. Naturally, they will be looking to carry that form into AFCON 2023, and with an in-form Mohammed Salah in their ranks, the Pharaohs will believe it's possible to go one step further than last time out which was a penalty shoot-out defeat to Senegal.

Ghana

Ghana will be the team Cape Verde have an eye on to pip to second place at AFCON 2023, with the Black Stars getting through thanks to a very late winner against Central African Republic. But with talents such as Mohammed Kudus and Inaki Willaims in attack, they will be a very dangerous outfit to come up against.

Mozambique

Mozambique will be participating in their fifth AFCON, but in each of their previous four campaigns, they've failed to get out of the group stages. That is positive for Cape Verde's chances of progression – be it via third place or more comfortable means – but this budding nation on the up will be keen to rewrite history in the Ivory Coast.

How far will Cape Verde go?

Cape Verde have never been able to progress past the quarter-final stage in any AFCON. A shock draw withe Egypt would represent a decent start in the context of a top-two finish in Group B, but they seem a good bet to finish as one of the best 3rd placed teams to progress in any case. A respectable Round of 16 run seems likeliest.

Cape Verde team
© Sydney Mahlangu/Sports Inc – Photo by Icon sport

Cape Verde Predicted AFCON Lineup XI

Goalkeeper

Vozinha will be one of the oldest players at AFCON 2023 and has been a regular within the Cape Verde set-up for more than a decade now making his debut back in 2011, and despite being 37 years old, he is still trusted as the man between the sticks.

Defence

Cape Verde have kept back-to-back clean sheets, so the back four should pick itself, although left-back is an interesting spot, with midfielder Joao Paulo being deployed there in the last two games, meaning this could be his newfound position heading to Ivory Coast.

Roberto Lopes and Nuno da Costa will almost certainly be at the heart of the defence, with this being the usual go-to partnership for Cape Verde. And to their right will be Willy Semedo, who's only missed two of the last eight games for his country and has been a constant threat at both ends of the pitch.

Ryan Mendes
Cape Verde will look to utilise the veteran experience of Ryan Mendes, seen here playing for club side Fatih Karagumruk. (Photo by Ahmad Mora/DeFodi Images) – Photo by Icon sport

Midfield

It's likely two defensive midfielders of Neroy Duarte and Kevin Linini who will offer a solid base and help soak up pressure, but their inexperience at international level could well see them falter at crucial moments.

Therefore, the attacking trio of Bebe, Leandro Andrade and captain Ryan Mendes will be asked to make the most of whatever possession Cape Verde muster up. The skipper is set to play at his third AFCON, making him a much-needed figure of seniority in what is a relatively young side.

Attack

Striker options are limited for Cape Verde, and Benchimol's fitness going into the tournament will be massively influential.

He's got three goals in nine appearances for his country, but at just 21 years of age, he will need to be carefully managed to avoid burnout.


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Aaron Hindhaugh

Aaron is a multi-skilled sports content writer and media professional. He is a specialist in both Men's and Women's football, along with golf.