Morocco-Cape Verde Preview: Islanders out to prove their mettle once more against motivated Moroccans

Both sides have been working on their potency in the final third during preparations for the crucial Group A tie and are aiming to secure their first win of the tournament

South Africa 

Chakir, Benatia, El Adoua, El Kaoutari
El Kaoutari
Hermach, El Ahmadi
Amrabat Belhanda, Assaidi
El Hamadoui

Carlitos, Ricardo, Nando, Gege

Verela, Dady, Rony, Silva

Mendes, Djaniny

Cape Verde will need to muster an improved performance in front of goal against Morocco on Wednesday night if their debut Africa Cup of Nations tournament is to progress any further.

Neither side have cited any injury concerns on the eve of the match, with both expected to turn out in full force at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The Islanders came close to upsetting hosts South Africa in the opening game of the tournament, with some gilt-edged chances missed by their forwards leading to the match ending in a dreary 0-0 draw.  

The team was able to hold off a nervous and incoherent South African side, but should have taken the three points off the hosts, who kept giving Cape Verde possession and chances to build towards goal.

Lucio Antunes believes his side can score against Morocco and has put the opening game at the back of his mind when he told reporters on the eve of the match, “Playing against South Africa has passed, it is now preparing for the game with Morocco to try to score.”

Eventually the Islanders seemed content with a draw against Bafana Bafana but will be targeting an improved performance against a dangerous Moroccan outfit, who were left frustrated with their performance against Angola in another 0-0 draw on the opening day of the tournament.

Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi spoke on the eve of the match and concluded that his side spurned numerous opportunities against Angola and will have to focus on finding the target against a steely Cape Verde outfit.

“As you know, we are not efficient enough, we don't make the most of our opportunities and in this coming match we know we will have opportunities to score. But in order to do that, we need to focus, we need to work to reach our goal, which is to score," Taoussi told reporters.

Midfielder Nordin Amrabat echoed his coach’s words and believes that Morocco will win their second match of the tournament when he said, “We prepare in a normal way, like the first game. We train well, the moral is good and the atmosphere is good. And we train a lot on the tactics, and for us we are ready. The exercise is easy; we must win and take the three points."

Both sides have focused their preparations on finishing chances, with Taoussi working on Morocco’s set plays and his team’s efficiency in front of goal.

Abdelaziz Barrada, who was largely quiet but proficient throughout the opening game against Angola, will want to improve on his performance by controlling the game against Cape Verde, while the Islander’s talented attacker Ryan Mendes will be confident in his ability to find a vital breakthrough for the elusive debutant outfit.

  • This will be the first meeting between the two sides in their history.
  • The two goalless draws in Group A seemed to have set a trend for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, as there has only been one win and five draws so far.

  • The opening 0-0 draw between South Africa and Cape Verde meant Cape Verde picked up their first point in their first Afcon tournament.
  • Morocco, beaten finalists in 2004 and winners in 1976, believe they have the team capable of reaching the final in 2013.
  • Morocco lost their first leg encounter against Mozambique 2-0 on their road to the finals, but were able to overturn the result with a 4-0 victory at home.
  • Cape Verde, 70th in the Fifa World rankings, are the highest ranked team in Group A.