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Four Cape Verde players Bafana need to watch out for in the battle for Afcon semis

Cape Verde goal poacher Ryan Mendes celebrates scoring with teammates during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations last 16 match against Mauritania at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on January 29 2024.
Cape Verde goal poacher Ryan Mendes celebrates scoring with teammates during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations last 16 match against Mauritania at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on January 29 2024.
Image: Ladjal Djaffar/BackpagePix

With Cape Verde not one of the powerhouses in African football, it is expected many would pick South Africa as favourites to progress to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semifinals this weekend.  

That’s because Bafana Bafana have a better pedigree in the tournament compared to their opponents.    

But those who have been following the Afcon will know the Blue Sharks will not be a walk in the park when they meet the 1996 champions at Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast (10pm SA time).    

Bafana will need to be prepared to work as hard as they did when they beat Morocco 2-0 in the round of 16, and caused probably the biggest shock of the tournament.   

We take a look at four Cape Verde players who could be a threat to Bafana’s ambitions to lift the Afcon trophy.     

Bebe, 33, forward    

Bebe is one of the senior players for Cape Verde and has played in top leagues in the world.    

Though having enjoyed a long career at club level, the attacker only started to play for the national team in 2022.    

Born in Portugal, he is in the books of Rayo Vallecano of Spain. Teams he has played for include Manchester United, Besktas, Benfica, SD Eibar and Real Zaragoza .    

At this year’s Afcon, Bebe has featured in all of Cape Verde's three games and scored one goal.    

He is definitely one of the players Cape Verde will rely on to get the better of South Africa and progress to the semis for the first time in their Afcon history.    

Ryan Mendes, 34, forward    

Mendes is another experienced campaigner for the Cape Verdeans. He plays club football in Turkey for Karagümrük. The national team skipper has had a career that saw him play in England, France and the United Arab Emirates.    

Mendes is not only Cape Verde’s most capped with 74 appearances but he is also their leading scorer, finding the back of the net 17 times in national team colours.    

He has been involved in three goals at this year's tournament, scoring two and providing a single assist.    

Mendes has represented his country in all four of its Afcon appearances in 2013, 2015, 2021 and 2023.

Logan Costa, 22, defender

The centre-back has proven to be a key figure in Cape Verde’s defence and will be important in dealing with the dangerous attackers from South Africa.    

The young man plays in France’s Ligue 1 and is a regular for Toulouse.    

Despite being new in the national team and playing his first Afcon, it has not shown in his performances.    

Costa was born in France and played for French junior national teams before he switched allegiances to Cape Verde.    

Garry Rodrigues, 33, winger    

Rodrigues is another senior man in the national team and has been with it for a while, having made his debut in 2013.    

Though he has scored only a single goal in this Afcon, Rodrigues has been very important for Cape Verde’s success in Ivory Coast, mostly from coming off the bench to make a telling impact.


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