Varela relishes first Afcon

Tony Varela, Cape Verde's Netherlands based winger talks exclusively to Africansportonline.

Qualification might have shocked many, but Cape Verde are on an upward curve. Do you feel the order is changing in African football?

The smaller countries in Africa used to only pick players who were playing in competition in their own country. Now these days they select players who are playing in different countries. That is why the smaller countries are getting better. 


How heart breaking was missing out on AFCON 2012 by goal difference to Mali?

That was a very big disappointment. But the qualification for the Africa Cup in 2013 more than makes up for it.

Cape Verde may not be the best known, but they are the highest ranked team in group A. Does that give you confidence?

It gives me confidence, but our ranking doesn’t help us to win a match. We want to play good football and that helps us to win matches, not a ranking.

Odair Fortes says apart from Cote d’Ivoire you are the strongest team in Africa! What do you think?

That is always nice to hear but we are an upcoming country with a lot of talented players. I hope that we can survive the group stage in South Africa and then every match is a final for us.

Describe what qualification meant to the people of Cape Verde

When we arrived at the airport of Cape Verde after we qualified for the Africa Cup, all the people in Cape Verde were so happy. Everyone in Cape Verde are looking forward to see us at the Africa Cup

The opening game will be the biggest moment in the career of a lot of the team. How do you think you’ll approach it?

It is always special to represent your own country. But if you play the opening game against the country that organise the tournament the stadium will be sold out. I think I will remember the game for the rest of my life.

Do you think the other teams in your group are a good draw for Cape Verde?

Morocco and South Africa used to be very strong countries but their results in the last year are a bit disappointing. I think that we are favourite in the game against Angola 

Who among your team mates should we look out for and why?
Our quality is our team spirit, not an individual player.

How would you describe the Cape Verde style for those who have never seen you play?

We are playing football by heart. We are proud to play for our country.


How would you judge a successful Cape Verde Nations Cup?
Qualifying for the next round. From there we can see if we can win some more matches. We are very keen to be successful for our country.

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