|CAN2010 - Angola United by Football|
The Black Antelopes go in search of the first place in the CAN2010
Twenty-seven years after their first try to qualify for the final phase of the African Football Cup of Nations (CAN), Angola gets ready to attain the inaugural triumph of the greatest football celebration of the cradle of Humanity when it welcomes, next January, 15 national teams for the preliminary games of the Cup in four hosting cities.
Having won the right to host this African competition, the first of its kind in the 33 years of Angolan independence, the Black Antelopes accumulated 13 tries to reach the podium, but only mustered four wins during CAN finals (South Africa 1996; Burkina Faso 1998; Egypt 2006 and Ghana 2008). Of these, the Black Antelopes reached the quarterfinals only in Ghana.
In short, our national team made a stand both in South Africa, in 1996 and in Burkina Faso two years later, but failed to qualify for the next phase, a situation that repeated in Egypt, although they achieved a better qualification in Ghana with the quarterfinals.
The Angolan team’s trajectory is also underscored by a remarkable achievement—having been selected as one of the teams to compete in the World Cup 2006, in Germany, where they amazed the soccer world during the qualifying phase when they beat Nigeria out of the Cup. Once again, they shocked when they reached FIFA’s greatest competition final stage and made the Portuguese (0-1) and the Mexican (0-0) teams “tremble”—they missed catapulting to the next phase by a thread… Well before the World Cup 2006, the Angolan team had made a “dangerous” name for themselves with “their” soccer, having been awarded the under-20 category African Cup of Nations title in Ethiopia, and participated in the FIFA U-20 World Cup of the same year (2001), in Argentina.
Now, after having shown its capabilities to organize sporting events, such as the African basketball games in 2007 and handball in 2008, along with international hockey tournaments, and the league of champions in basketball, Angola prepares for the CAN and wants the national team to have an exemplary performance.
Our first great victory was winning the hosting venue, the second the infra-structural advantages associated with the event—development is seen all over Luanda, Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango with the ongoing projects to build roads, hotels, schools, four new stadia and other support structures in those cities.
Additionally, the victories achieved in women’s handball and men’s basketball, which between the two national teams are African champions nine times over, and the many occasions when Angola represented their continent, over the last ten years, in Olympic Games, have “granted” more respectability to Angolan soccer, the sports activity par excellence in our country. In order to efficiently prepare for January 2010 event, the Government is creating the institutional and material conditions to ensure the success of the Black Antelopes, although in this preparatory phase results have been somewhat tipped (3 consecutive losses) when compared with previous successes.