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Cape Verde announce the team to face Bafana Bafana in back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers

By Nick Said | 2017-08-24 12:27:12.0

Cape Verde Islands have handed a first call-up to French-based defender Danilson da Cruz for the FIFA World Cup qualifier double-header against South Africa early next month as their football association has been plunged into turmoil by the sacking of the president Victor Osorio and the entire board.

Danilson‚ who was born in France‚ plays for Ligue 2 side Stade Reims and earns a first call-up from coach Lucio Antunes.

The 31-year-old has played exclusively in the lower leagues in France and he made his move to Reims at the start of last season.

He has played every minute of the campaign so far for his team‚ including a 3-0 loss to Lebo Mothiba’s Valenciennes in the French Cup on Tuesday.

Antunes‚ desperate to turn around the spiraling fortunes of his side‚ has also recalled midfielder Platini after a two-year absence.

The 31-year-old joined Romanian top-flight side CSMS Iași at the start of this season after a spell in the United Arab Emirates with Dibba Al-Hisn.

Uncapped 20-year-old goalkeeper Márcio Rosa has also received a call-up from Antunes.

Cape Verde’s poor performances on the pitch have seen changes in the boardroom as well after an Extraordinary General Assembly of the country’s football association voted to oust president Osorio in a vote that ended 9-2 in favour.

It meant the entire board was sacked as well and leaves the association rudderless to a certain extent before a new president and board can be voted in by the September 30 deadline.

The under-performance of the national team was the major reason for the ousting of Osorio‚ though the domestic league had also seen multiple challenges in the most recent campaign.

Cape Verde fell well short of topping their pool in qualification for the 2017 African Nations Cup‚ while they have lost both of their first two games in their qualifying pool for the 2018 World Cup.

Seven of their last 10 matches have ended in defeat‚ including their last four at home‚ with only victories against minnows São Tomé E Príncipe‚ Luxembourg and Kenya.

They have been in freefall in the FIFA rankings‚ plunging to number 115 in the world and number 31 in Africa. This having held top spot on the continent not even three years ago.

The first match between Bafana and Cape Verde will be played in Praia on September 1‚ with the return in Durban four days later.

Cape Verde squad:

Goalkeepers: Vozinha (AEL Limassol‚ Cyprus) and Márcio Rosa (Chaves‚ Portugal)

Defenders: Tiago Almeida (Polithenic IASI‚ Romania)‚ Steven Pereira (MVV‚ Netherlands)‚ Ricardo (Paços de Ferreira‚ Portugal)‚ Fernando Varela (PAOK‚ Greece)‚ Vally (Progresso Luanda Sul‚ Angola)‚ Stopira (Videoton‚ Hungary) and Babanco (Feirense‚ Portugal)

Midfielders: Danilson da Cruz (Stade de Reims‚ France)‚ Carlos Ponck (Aves‚ Portugal)‚ Marco Soares (AEL Limassol‚ Cyprus)‚ Platini (CSMS Iași‚ Romania)‚ Hélder Tavares (Tondela‚ Portugal)‚ Jamiro Monteiro (Heracles‚ Netherlands)‚ Nuno Rocha (Tosno‚ Russia) and Wuilito Fernandes (Orange County‚ USA)

Forwards: Garry Rodrigues (Galatasaray‚ Turkey)‚ Jovane Cabral (Sporting B‚ Portugal)‚ Ryan Mendes (Kayserispor‚ Turkey)‚ Nuno Joia (Stransbourg‚ France)‚ Júlio Tavares (Dijon‚ France) and Ricardo Gomes (Madeira National‚ Portugal) -