Angolans shock Africa champs

       Geraldo Coritiba
SCORER: Geraldo Coritiba

ANGOLA received a major morale boost ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals when they defeated defending champions Zambia 2-0 in a training match in Soweto on Saturday.

The win was achieved despite the absence of two of their leading stars - striker Manucho and midfielder Djalma Campos - who sat out the game with injury niggles.

Angola's goals came from Brazilian-based midfielder Geraldo Coritiba and a late strike from Amaro, a fine win for coach Gustavo Ferrin, who will be pleased with the form of his side in the build-up to the tournament.

Aside from this win they have also secured 1-0 successes over Cameroon and Rwanda, as well as a 1-1 draw with Gambia. Angola now have no more international friendlies lined up before they meet Morocco in their opening match of the Afcon at the National Stadium (Soccer City) on January 19.

Zambia did field two different sides in either half, so were never quite able to build-up a head of steam.

They will hope for better in their three remaining matches before they defend their title in South Africa - against Morocco in Johannesburg, Norway in Ndola and Namibia in Nelspruit.

Meanwhile, the Cape Verde Football Association has launched "Operation CAN 2013", the aim of which is to raise money to help fund the Blues Sharks' trip to the continental showpiece.

They are asking ordinary Cape Verdeans to put their hands in their pockets and help fund the team's first-ever visit to the Afcon finals.

"We are getting some assistance from the government, but we are really counting on the support of all Cape Verdeans," said Cape Verde Football Association's president Mario Semedo.

The national side, meanwhile, continued their preparation with a 1-0 victory over a select team on Saturday, Dijon midfielder Jules Tavares scoring the only goal.

l Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi has finally spoken out on why he dropped the experience trio of Adel Taraabt, Marouane Chamakh and former skipper Houssine Kharja from his 23-man squad for the Nations Cup.

The exclusions have created controversy in Morocco, overshadowing the team's build-up to the tournament.

Chamakh paid the price for a lack of game time at Arsenal over the last few months, while a change of tactics appears to have cost Kharja his place with Taoussi suggesting he does not fit into their style of play.