Cape Verde eye quarter-finals again

The smallest country to ever qualify for the African Nations Cup finals are setting their sights on at least repeating their shock quarter-final place of two years ago.

Cape Verde coach Rui Aguas said that is the minimum target the islanders, whose population is just over half-million strong, have set themselves at the 16-team tournament in Equatorial Guinea, where they make their second-ever finals appearance.

"We will try everything we can, of course. We have everything in our own hands," Aguas said.

"What we want to achieve is to do better than what we did last time. The minimum objective is to get to the next phase."

They would effectively need a result against 2012 winners Zambia in their last Group B game at the Estadio de Ebibeyin on Monday to advance and confirm the potential they showed in the last finals in South Africa two years ago.

That time they had first shocked by qualifying for the finals, eliminating Cameroon in the process and then reaching the last eight.

Cape Verde have drawn their opening two matches, taking points off previous champions Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that vastly dwarfs the Cape Verde in size.

"Finishing has been a problem for us but we have played two very good games so far. I think we have discovered that we can do better than we have and reach the next round," added Aguas, a former Portugal international.

"It has been frustrating and disappointing not to have won and missing chances means we have just made it more difficult for ourselves. I believe we can do better and score finally in the third game."

Cape Verde's only goal at this tournament has been a penalty converted by Sporting Lisbon striker Heldon in the 1-1 draw with Tunisia in their opening game at the tournament. The next game against the Congolese on Thursday ended goalless.

Two years ago, on their maiden appearance at the finals in South Africa, Cape Verde eliminated Angola and Morocco in their group before losing in the last eight to Ghana, capturing the imagination of African football followers.

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