The Herald (Harare)

23 January 2013

Cape Verde/South Africa: Debutantes Cape Verde Eye Last Eight

Durban — Debutantes Cape Verde are keen to prove they belong among the big boys when they plunge into the second Group A match of their 2013 Nations Cup adventure with a tie against Morocco at the Moses Mabida Stadium tonight.

The match starts at 8pm.

Cape Verde battled their way to goalless draw against hosts South Africa in the opening match of the tournament in Johannesburg last week, a result that was celebrated as a sign of the progress they are making.

But they need more than just one result to show they belong at the same dinner table as the heavyweights.

Yesterday, vice-captain Heldon said the first game could not have been better and helped them settle into the tournament.

"This is our first time at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament and for us the first impression is good, the organisation is excellent and what we want is to achieve our mission," said Heldon.

"We have great respect for each other as well as other teams in Group A.

"For us, our result in the opening match was good and it has inspired us to do better in the coming games."

Cape Verde coach, Lucio Antunes, said their target was to come out of the group stages and qualify for the quarter-finals.

"The result of the past game was good as it gave us motivation also to score points as well as focus on our coming games," said Antunes.

"From now on we are inspired to reach the finals.

"Yes, we do play with passion and we know that our country deserves positive results."

Cape Verde finally qualified for their first Nations Cup finals after several failed attempts.

They knocked Cameroon in the final round of qualifiers.

Antunes said he was not worried about his two injured players, midfielder Babanko and defender Fernando Varela.

'We are playing the best team, we hope to be the best that we can be and overcome the first phase," said Antunes.

"Our focus is to go stage by stage so that we can reach to the finals.

"Our mission is to have the best results, we want to play with respect and dignity. I believe that will carry us through,."

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