Cape Verde’s national soccer team qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. It booked a place in the tournament for the first time in its history, after beating Eto’s Cameroon in a two-legged playoff.
Cape Verde lost to Cameroon by a score of 2-1 Sunday, but it qualified for the competition thanks to a 2-0 win in September. The 3-2 aggregate victory is a milestone for the nation, it’s 500,000 inhabitants and its diaspora spread around the world.
Augusto Almeida‘s 12th minute goal gave Cape Verde the cushion it needed to withstand Cameroon’s offensive. Cameroon, four-time winner of the Africa Cup of Nations, scored early in the second half to keep qualification within reach, but Cape Verde was able to limit its host to a consolation goal at the end of the game and achieve an historic result.
Star striker Eto’o recently ended a self-imposed exile from international play, but his presence was not enough to lead a young Cameroon team to the 2013 tournament. He hit the post in the second half of Sunday’s game, but that was as close as he came to turning the tide of the game. “The Indomitable Lions” will miss the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time in a row, confirming its fall from the summit of the African game. Eto’s international future remains unclear, as he may retire again and devote all his energy to playing for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
Meanwhile, Cape Verde and its collection of unheralded stars prepare for their first major tournament at the senior level.
South Africa will host the 16-team competition. The draw will be held on Oct. 24. Action will commence on Jan. 19, 2013. It concludes on Feb. 10 with the final at Soccer City in Johannesburg.
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