Angola extend their pool of talent ahead of Afcon qualifiers

By Mark GleesonCape Town
Danny Da Costa
Danny Da Costa

Angola have called up three new players, who have previously been capped at junior level by European countries, as they seek to extend their pool of talent in preparation for the upcoming African Nations Cup qualifiers.

German under-21 international Danny da Costa (pictured) and Dolly Menga and Jonathan Buata, who have both represented Belgium at junior level, are being asked to switch their international allegiance and commit to playing for the Palancas Negras.

They are among five new foreign-born players with Angolan ancestry being offered a chance to join Angola's bid to qualify for Morocco 2015.

The Angola Football Federation on Friday called up a squad of 31 players for warm-up matches against Ethiopia and Botswana next month including two other new additions additions -- Belgian-born Clinton Mata and striker Rudy, born in Portugal.

Angola coach Romeu Filemon's is hoping the newcomers will add to the depth of the pool for players for his team to use in the group stage of the Nations Cup qualifiers, which starts in September. Angola are in Group C with Burkina Faso, Gabon and the winner of the play-off match between Kenya and Lesotho.

He will seek to use as many of the players as possible in friendly game against Ethiopia on 3 August and Botswana on 11 August, although player release might prove an issue.

The 21-year-old Da Costa, whose father is Angolan and mother Congolese, is a product of former German champions Borussia Dortmund and been capped three times at under-21 level by Germany, where he was born.

Buata, 20, joined Fulham last August but even though he not play in the English premier league last season had his contract extended. He has played for Belgium at under-17, 18 and 19 age groups.

Dolly Menga also born in Belgium and has played at under-21 level for the Red Devils. He had one game in Serie A on loan for Torino last year but has since returned to Lierse.

The 21-year-old Clinton Mata has just signed for Charleroi in his native Belgium. He is also part Angolan and part Congolese.

Rudy, whose full name is Carlos Wilson Cachicote da Rocha, was called up already for Angola's two friendly matches against Morocco and Iran in May but was not released by his club. He has an Angolan mother while his father is from the tiny island nation of Sao Tome e Principe.

In May, Angola handed first caps to several other European-born players when they beat Morocco 2-0 in Faro and then drew with World Cup-bound Iran in Austria.

Swiss-born goalkeeper Signori Antonio and defender Genseric Kusunga, former Belgian junior international Igor Vetokele and Dutch-born Alexander Christovao all won their first caps.

Antonio was born in Switzerland and has been called up previously by the Swiss under-20 side.

Geneva-born Kusunga moved to Oldham Athletic last August from FC Basle, and was capped by Switzerland at under-17 level.

The 21-year-old Christovao is from the Netherlands, moving to newly promoted Cambuur last season from FC Groningen.

Vetokele was born in Luanda but grew up in Belgium and played for them at under-21 level. He has just signed a five year deal with Charlton Athletic after moving from FC Copenhagen in Denmark.


Goalkeepers: Signori Antonio (Lausanne Sport, Switzerland), Elber (Benfica Luanda), Landu (Recreativo Libolo)

Defenders: Abdul (Petro Atletico), Bastos (FC Rostov, Russia), Carlitos (Recreativo Libolo), Danny da Costa (FC Ingolstadt, Germany), Dany Masunguna (Primeiro Agosto), Evandro (Recreativo Libolo), Genseric Kusunga (Oldham Athletic, England), Jonathan Buata (Fulham, England), Kuagica (Primeiro Agosto), Miguel (Benfica Luanda), Natael (Sagrada Esperanca)

Midfielders: Adao (Progresso Sambizanga), Chara (Petro Atletico), Clinton Mata (Charleroi, Belgium), Dany (Recreativo Libolo), Dolly Menga (Lierse, Belgium), Gilberto (Petro Atletico), Gomito (Recreativo Libolo), Ruben Gouveia (Recreativo Caala), Ary Papel (Primeiro Agosto), Vado (Benfica Luanda), Wilson (Kabuscorp)

Strikers: Djalma Campos (Konyaspor, Turkey), Alexander Christovao (Cambuur Leeuwarden, Netherlands), Fredy (Belenenses, Portugal), Igor Vetokele (Charlton Athletic, England), Patrick II (Sagrada Esperanca), Rudy (Deportivo la Corunha, Spain).