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Palancas Negras of Angola rising from the cast as underdogs of AFCON

Posted : 06 January 2024

Angola, despite its early start in football, has yet to make a significant impact; however, the country has witnessed steady growth in its football development over the years.

Perhaps the greatest feat ever achieved by the Palancas Negras of Angola was when they prevented Nigeria from going to the 2006 World Cup.

Surprisingly, Palancas Negras of Angola qualified for the 2006 World Cup ahead of Nigeria after losing only one game in the qualifiers, surpassing the favorites, Nigeria.

In the 2006 World Cup, the less experienced Palancas Negras of Angola played their first World Cup finals game against the Portuguese side, who won the match 1–0, with the only goal coming from Pauleta.

There was a very friendly environment in and around the stadium during this match because of the links and friendship between the countries of Angola and Portugal.

Angola drew 0–0 in their second game with Mexico and still had a chance of qualifying for the second round had they beaten Iran in their final group game, but the match finished 1–1 after goals by Flávio and Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh. Angola was eliminated from the tournament, losing only one game.

On the African scene, Angola played their first game against Congo on February 8, 1976, losing 3–2. On June 26, 1977, Cuba became Angola's first non-African opponent when the two countries met in Angola, with Angola winning 1–0.

Angola entered World Cup qualifying for the first time in the 1986 qualifying competition. Angola defeated Senegal on penalties in the first round before narrowly losing to Algeria 3–2 on aggregate in the second round.

Palancas Negras of Angola then qualified for their first Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 and were drawn in Group A with South Africa, Egypt, and Cameroon.

They lost their first two games to Egypt and South Africa but managed a 3–3 draw against Cameroon, which made them finish at the bottom of the group and did not reach the second round.

Angola then qualified for their second successive African Cup of Nations in 1998 but again failed to reach the second round, drawing 0–0 with South Africa and 3–3 with Namibia and losing 5–2 to Ivory Coast.

After missing the last three tournaments, the Palancas Negras qualified for the 2006 African Nations Cup, where the team recorded their first African Cup of Nations win against Togo, winning 3–2, with two goals coming from Flávio and the other coming from Maurito. The team also drew 0–0 against Congo DR and lost 3–1 against Cameroon.

However, Angola's best performance then came in the 2008 African Nations Cup as they were drawn in Group D with Tunisia, South Africa, and Senegal.

They drew 1–1 and 0–0 with South Africa and Tunisia, then defeated Senegal 3–1, with two goals coming from Manucho. In the quarter-finals, they were beaten by eventual winners Egypt 2–1, but Manucho scored again, finishing with four goals in total.

Angola hosted the 2010 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, while the national football team were seeded in Group A along with Mali, Algeria, and Malawi.

Coached by Manuel José, in their first game, they drew 4–4 with Mali, after letting a 4–0 lead slip in the last 11 minutes (including three goals in stoppage time). They recovered from this by beating Malawi 2–0 in the second match and topped the group by drawing 0–0 with Algeria. They were knocked out in the quarter-final after a 1–0 defeat by eventual finalists Ghana.

The Palancas Negras of Angola had their best shot at AFCON in 2011 when they became a surprising team of the biennial football showpiece as they pushed through the final match only to lose to Tunisia by 3-0.

Logged in Group D of AFCON 2011, which has Tunisia, Senegal, and Rwanda.

Angola drew the first match against Tunisia with Kali, who scored an injury-time equalizer. The team then had a barren draw against Senegal in the second match but came back strongly in the third match to defeat Rwanda by 2-1 to qualify for the knockout stage.

In the knockout stage, Palancras Negras of Angola beat Cameroon 8-7 via penalties and also beat Sudan via the same penalties 4-2 after which the finals ended 0-3 in favor of winners Tunisia.

The 2024 AFCON will be the third appearance of Angola in the biggest football showpiece in Africa, and fans across the world cannot wait to see if they will once again impress with less-known players in the squad.



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