***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 10 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall you learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Cape Verde, yet to qualify for a World Cup and who fell just short of reaching the final playoff round for Qlamqtar 2022.
CAPE VERDE: Shit, imagine how good they’d be if more than just like ten or eleven people lived there
Nickname: The Blue Sharks
FIFA Ranking: 73 (Dec 2021)
Is it the local alcohol known as grogue? Is it the inspiration from the shipwrecked load of top-class synthesizers that ended up on the islands in the 70s and inspired a wave of cosmic disco? Who knows. But one thing’s for sure: there are few teams punching above their weight better than Cape Verde. Ranked as high as #27 in the FIFA rankings back in 2014, this western African archipelago has grown to become one of the continent’s strongest outfits, a remarkable fact considering its entire population consists entirely of two families, this single guy who lives down the end of the street (who’s a bit weird to be honest), the policeman, the postman, some women who just minds her business but seems pretty nice, the supermarket cashier, and National President José Maria Neves.
While the Sharks have now slipped out of the world’s top 50, when calculating every country’s FIFA ranking points by size of population, Cape Verde are ranked fourth in the world–behind only Faroe Islands, Iceland and Montenegro. With a population of less than 600,000 the Blue Sharks are no doubt Africa’s most annoying overachievers. And among its recent mind blowing highlights, the team fell just 2 points shy of a place in the World Cup Playoffs, and progressed to the round of 16 at AFCON 2021, only succumbing to Africa’s top ranked team Senegal 2-0, albeit after being shown two red cards that reduced them early just to 9 men.
Should Cape Verde’s progress continue at the same rate, this tiny archipelago nation consisting of 11 basically uninhabited islands may not only soon qualify for a World Cup, but before you know it, they might win about 10 or 11 of them too.
One to watch: The cutest octopus you’ll ever
If you’re in Cape Verde and saying to yourself, ‘Yo, where the cutest octopus in the world be at?’ well, you can blame Charles Darwin. That pesky and curious little bugger made an unscheduled stopped on the Cape Verdean island of Santiago (then St. Jago) aboard the HMS Beagle on his famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands, and upon finding the above common octopus (Octupus vulgaris), he was enthralled. He captured it, bottled it and studied it, which is cool and all, except for the fact that the octopus, of course, soon died (it’s now stored at London Natural History Museum). His journal notes told the story of how captivated he was by the octopus’ ability to emit clouds of dark ink, change colour, squirt water at him and wriggle its way out of tight spots. It’s believed that he was referring to this particular specimen when he wrote:
‘While looking for marine animals, with my head about two feet above the rocky shore, I was more than once saluted by a jet of water accompanied by a slight grating noise,’ he wrote. ‘From the difficulty which these animals have in carrying their heads, they cannot crawl with ease when placed on the ground. I observed that one which I kept in the cabin was slightly phosphorescent in the dark.’
Darwin’s fascination with the myriad of earth’s living creatures throughout all their different habitats–both on land and off–may have been good for our understanding of where we come from and the meaning of life and all that shit, but it’s really fucked you over if you’re currently in Cape Verde and looking for a cute as shit octopus like the one above.
The Highpoint: Winners of the 2009 Lusophony Games obviously
The Lusophony Games is a multinational sporting event made up of Portuguese speaking nations, those with significant Portuguese communities or with a history with Portugal. And needless to say, Cape Verde took the 2009 title, overcoming the might of Angola and India (as well as minnows and host nation Portugal) while, most notably wrestling a 1-1 courageous draw from their encounter against the strapping Mozambique team. Of course this is common knowledge, but it will be a while before we forget Cape Verde’s journey to the summit of the Lusophy Everest, and, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say this, it’ll be a story we’ll all tell our grandkids one day. That ‘Yes, that’s right sonny lad boy kid child, I was alive when Cape Verde won the 2009 Lusophony Games.’*
* The Lusophony Games have since been discontinued after the 2017 event, which was scheduled to be hosted by Mozambique but then was delayed until 2018 for no reason, and following that it just wasn’t staged at all. I pray that these Games are revived asap and it’s not just a case of ACOLOP (The Association of Portuguese speaking Olympic committees) just hoping that the whole thing just blows over and no one notices. Because reader I’m sure you and I are on the same page when it comes to this, BRING BACK THE LUSOPHONY GAMES!!!
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
None. Eliminated from World Cup Qualifying in the second round (finishing second in its group, just 2 points behind Nigeria) and from AFCON 2021 in the Round of 16 (losing to Senegal–see above)