After failing to qualify in their first attempt in 1984, the squad has finally paved their way into the finals of Germany 2006. With no big names in its line-up, the team's biggest strength is unity among the players.india Updated: May 25, 2006 19:17 IST
|FIFA world ranking||58|
|Coach||Luis Oliveira Goncalves|
|Group D||Portugal, Mexico, Iran, Angola|
This is for the first time that Angola have qualified for the greatest football tournament on earth. The African nation finished ahead of the Super Eagles (Nigeria) in their qualifying campaign.
They first attempted to qualify for the World Cup in 1984, and finally, in their sixth attempt, they managed to clear their way to Germany.
Angola could not make a great start to their qualifying campaign, losing their first match to Chad 1-3, a result that got their Brazilian coach Ismael Kurtz the sacking letter.
They came back strongly and their captain Akwa led them to a 2-0 victory in the return leg taking them onto the group stage.
Once they reached the group stage, they made it sure about not losing points at the Cidadela ground in Luanda. The visiting teams suffered and they celebrated their entry in the world stage.
Angola is a team without any star players. But their biggest strength is their unity and the willingness of their players to give all for the country.
Coach Goncalves has acquired folk-hero status in Angola since successfully leading the African minnows to the World Cup for the first time at the expense of mighty Nigeria.
First came to prominence as coach of the Angolan side that won the 2001 African Youth Championship, the same year he guided Luanda's police team InterClube to the African Cup Winners Cup final.
The captain and Angola's all-time leading scorer, Akwa is idolised by his countrymen not least for scoring the late winner against Rwanda that secured his team's passage to the World Cup.
A talented striker, the 28-year-old Akwa joined Benfica as a teenager before eventually being lured to Qatar on a big-money contract.
Placed in Group D with Portugal, Mexico and Iran, a special effort is required for them to reach the round of 16.
Goalkeepers: Joao Ricardo (unattached), Lama (Petro Atletico), M rio (InterClube)
Defenders: Delgado (Petro Atletico), Jamba (AS Aviacao), Kali (FC Barreirense, Portugal), Lebo Lebo (Petro Atletico), Loco (Primeiro Agosto), Marco Abreu (Portimonense, Portugal), Marco Airosa FC Barreirense, Portugal), Rui Marques (Hull City, England)
Midfielders: Andr (Kuwait SC, Kuwait), Edson (Pacos Ferreira, Portugal), Figueiredo, Mendonca(Varzim, Portugal), Miloy (InterClube), Z Kalanga (Petro Atletico)
Strikers: Akw (unattached), Andre Titi Buengo (Clermont Foot, France), Fl vio (Al Ahli, Egypt), Love (AS Aviacao), Mantorras (Benfica, Portugal), Mateus (Gil Vicente, Portugal).