Cape Verde's national football team squad, coach, world rankings, AFCON, nickname

Cape Verde's national football team squad, coach, world rankings, AFCON, nickname

Helix Odhiambo
updated at August 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Cape Verde's national football team has risen to the world rankings in the past decade, placing them on the global map of football. Their remarkable achievements have left many wondering how a tiny island off the west coast of Africa can assemble a formidable team and teach their colonisers how to play the beautiful game. Let's look at the team's journey to stardom, their current form and much more.

Cape Verde's national football team
Photo: (modified by author)
Source: UGC

What is Cape Verde's football team called? Like many countries globally, the tiny nation also has a nickname for its football team. The soccer team is famously known as the 'Blue Sharks' and their favourite shirt colour is blue and white.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Cape Verde national football team
  • Nickname: Blue Sharks
  • Federation: CAF
  • Founded: 1982
  • Association: Cape Verdean Football Federation
  • Colours: Blue, white, red
  • FIFA ranking: 73 (as of December 2021)
  • Head coach: Bubista
  • Captain: Vozinha
  • Stadium: Estádio da Várzea

What is the national sport of Cape Verde?

Cape Verde's national football team trophies
The Blue Sharks supporters cheer their team against Angola during their 2013 Afcon encounter at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Photo: Stephane De Sakutin
Source: Getty Images

Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Their national football team played its first international game four years later, against neighbours Guinea-Bissau. Cape Verde became a member of FIFA in 1986, allowing it to compete globally. Currently, if you walk along the country's streets, you are likely to meet people of all ages playing football, an indication that it is getting more popular on the island.

Cape Verde's football history

Before the turn of the new century, Cape Verde ranked among the weakest teams in the world. Without proper structures to develop football in the country, there was little hope for those with dreams of making it big in the game.

As a result, some left for greener pastures in other countries, and Cape Verde lost many talents, including former Manchester United star Luis Nani of Portugal, ex-Manchester City player Gelson Fernandes who opted for Switzerland French international Patrick Vieira, and Swedish legend Henrik Larsson.

However, with patience, belief and determination, their first breakthrough came when they won the Amilcar Cabral Cup in 2000, which featured Western African nations.

The Blue Sharks surprisingly edged out favourites Guinea, Mali and Senegal to win the title, setting the pace for a nation yearning for success.

Afcon campaign

Cape Verde's national football team nickname
Jeffry Fortes of the Blue Sharks controls the ball during their Afcon 2022 match against Cameroon. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen
Source: Getty Images

Cape Verde's national football team Afcon campaign began in 2013 after making its debut appearance. The Blue Sharks immediately made a statement by reaching the quarterfinals. They returned in 2015 but could not move past the group stage. The team also qualified for the 2021 edition in Cameroon.

Cape Verde's national football team world rankings

The Blue Sharks have improved significantly recently, posting a handful of victories against top-ranked teams. One of their famous triumphs was the 2-0 win over their colonisers, Portugal, in an international friendly game on 31 March 2015 in Portugal. So what is Cape Verde's FIFA ranking?

According to the latest standings, Cape Verde's national football team ranking is 73 worldwide. In Africa, they are ranked 14th. Their highest-ever ranking was in March 2016 when they took top sport in Africa and 36th in the world.

Cape Verde's national football team players

Who is Cape Verde's national football team captain? The Blue Sharks' squad constitutes only foreign-based players. Goalkeeper Josimar Dias, also known as Vozinha, is the captain. Let's find out who makes the squad.


  • Vozinha (AEL Limassol, Cyprus)
  • Marcio da Rosa (Montalegre, Portugal)
  • Keven Ramos (Mindelese, Cape Verde)


  • Stopira (Fehervar, Hungary)
  • Steven Fortes (Oostende, Belgium)
  • Jeffry Fortes (De Graafschap, Netherlands)
  • Steve Furtado (Beroe, Bulgaria)
  • Roberto Lopes (Shamrock Rovers, Republic of Ireland)
  • Joao Paulo Fernandes (Feirense, Portugal)
  • Diney Borges (AS Far, Morocco)
  • Ponck (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey)
  • Dylan Tavares (Neuchatel Xamax, Switzerland)


  • Kenny Rocha (Oostende, Belgium)
  • Nuno Borges (Casa Pia, Portugal)
  • Patrick Andrade (Qarabag, Azerbaijan)
  • Jamiro Monteior (Philadelphia Union, USA)
  • Nenass (Aalesund, Norway)
  • Marco Soares (Arouca, Portugal)


  • Ryan Mendes (Al Nasr, UAE)
  • Willy Semedo (Pafos, Cyprus)
  • Gilson Tavares (Estoril-Praia, Portugal)
  • Willis Furtado (FK Jerv, Norway)
  • Julio Tavares (Al Faisaly, Saudi Arabia)
  • Garry Rodrigues (Olympiakos, Greece)
  • Lisandro Semedo (Fortuna Sittard, Netherlands)
  • Djaniny Semedo (Trabzonspor, Turkey)

Cape Verde's national football team coach

Cape Verde's famous footballers
Cape Verde's coach Humberto Bettencourt (L), attends a training session at the Olembe stadium in Yaounde on 16 January 2022. Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard
Source: Getty Images

Pedro Leitão Brito, also known as Bubista, is the head coach of the Blue Sharks. He was appointed in January 2020.

Cape Verde's football shirt

The Cape Verdean Football Federation unveiled 2022 kits for the men's and women's national soccer teams. Home jerseys are blue, away kits are white, and the third is red. All three kits have an image of a shark, inspired by the nickname Blue Sharks.

Cape Verde's national football team has made considerable strides in football but remains without silverware. Therefore, playing in a world cup will also be top in their future priority.

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Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.