Felisberto 'Beto' Cardoso confirmed as Cape Verde's new coach

By Mark GleesonBBC Sport
Cape Verde team
Cape Verde team

Africa's new top ranked nation, Cape Verde, officially confirmed Felisberto Cardoso as their new coach as they announced their squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Morocco later this month.

Cardoso - better known as 'Beto' - had been named acting coach in January after the departure of the Portuguese Rui Aguas in a spat over unpaid wages.

Beto's permanent appointment was confirmed at a news conference in Praia, where Jimmy Barros and Bassano were named the team's new assistants.

Beto had been assistant to former Portugal international Rui Aguas, who took Cape Verde to the last Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea where they were eliminated after the opening group phase despite not losing a match.

The island archipelago, one of the smallest countries on the continent, took over as the top ranked African team in the latest FIFA rankings with Beto telling reporters he understood the "increased responsibility" on the team.

He named a pre-selection of 33 players for the two matches against Morocco, who will also have a new coach in Herve Renard.

The Tubaroes Azul (Blue Sharks) have called up Dutch-born attacker Jerson Cabral from Twente Enschede for the first time. The 25-year-old comes from the large Cape Verdian community in Rotterdam and previously played at Feyenoord. He won caps for the Netherlands at under-17, U-19 and U-21 level.

Cape Verde's squad will be cut to 22 before the match in Praia on 26 March. The two teams face each other again three days later in Agadir.

Cape Verde lead Morocco on goal difference only at the top of Group G with the pair both winning their opening two qualifiers against Libya and Sao Tome e Principe.

Cape Verde provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Nilson (GD Bairro), Ivan Somada (Gil Vicente, Portugal), Vozinha (FC Zimbru, Moldovia)

Defenders: Carlitos (Omonia Nicosia, Cyprus), Fernando Varela (Steaua Bucharest, Romania), Gege (Arouca, Portugal), Jeffry Fortes (Dordrecht, Netherlands), Kay (Universitat Craiova, Romania), Kiki Balack (Mafra, Portugal), Nivaldo (FK Teplice, Czech Republic), Steven Fortes (Le Havre, France), Stopira (Videoton, Hungary), Tiago (Belenenses, Portugal)

Midfielders: Babanco (Estoril, Portugal), Calú (FC Zimbru, Moldovia), Jamiro Monteiro (Cambuur Leeuwarden, Netherlands), Leleco (Oliveirense, Portugal), Marco Soares (AEL Limassol, Cyprus), Nuno Rocha (Universitat Craiova, Romania), Platini (ACS Poli Timisoara, Romania), Semedo (Feirense, Portugal), Stenio (Cherno More Varna, Bulgaria), Tom (Oriental, Portugal), Tony Varela (Al Jahra, Kuwait)

Strikers: Djaniny (Santos Laguna, Mexico), Garry Rodrigues (PAOK Salonika, Greece), Heldon (Rio Ave, Portugal), Jerson Cabral (Twente Enschede), Júlio Tavares (Dijon, France), Kuka (Rio Ave, Portugal), Odair Fortes (Stade Reims, France), Ryan Mendes (Nottingham Forest, England), Zé Luis (Spartak Moscow, Russia)