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Thu Apr 24 14:43:56 SAST 2014

Angola beat champs in warm-up match

NICK SAID | 07 January, 2013 07:290 Comments
The official matchball of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
Image by: Jamie McDonald / Getty Images

ANGOLA received a major morale boost ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations when they defeated defending champions Zambia 2-0 in a training match played in Soweto on Saturday.

The win was achieved despite the absence of two of their leading stars, striker Manucho and midfielder Djalma Campos, who sat out the game with injury niggles.

Angola's goals came from Brazilian-based midfielder Geraldo and a late strike from Amaro.

It was a fine win for coach Gustavo Ferrin, who will be pleased with the form of his side in the build-up to the Nations Cup.

Aside from this win, they have also secured 1-0 successes over Cameroon and Rwanda, as well as a 1-1 draw with Gambia. Angola now have no more international friendlies lined up before they meet Morocco in their opening match of the Nations Cup at Soccer City on January 19.

Zambia fielded two different sides in each half, so they were never quite able to build up a head of steam. They will hope for better in their three remaining matches before they defend their title, against Morocco in Johannesburg, Norway in Ndola and Namibia in Nelspruit.

Angola meet Bafana in the Nations Cup on January 23 in Durban.

Meanwhile, the Cape Verde Football Association has launched "Operation CAN 2013", the aim of which is to raise money to help fund the Blues Sharks' trip to the continental showpiece. They are asking ordinary Cape Verdeans to put their hands in their pockets and help fund the team's first-ever visit to the Nations Cup finals.

"We are getting some assistance from the government, but we are really counting on the support of all Cape Verdeans," said Mario Semedo, president of the Cape Verde Football Association.

The side, meanwhile, continued its preparations with a 1-0 victory over a select team on Saturday, with Dijon midfielder Jules Tavares scoring the only goal.

Morocco's coach Rachid Taoussi has finally spoken out on why he dropped the experienced trio of Adel Taarabt, Marouane Chamakh and former skipper Houssine Kharja from his 23-man squad for the Nations Cup.

The exclusions created a storm of controversy in Morocco, overshadowing the team's build-up for the tournament.

Taarabt has been in fine form for English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers this season, but Taoussi says the temperamental star was not selected because of a "lack of discipline on the pitch".

Chamakh paid the price for a lack of game time at Arsenal over the last few months, while a change of tactics appears to have cost Kharja his place, with Taoussi suggesting he does not fit into their style of play.

Their first warm-up match is against the Zambians tomorrow.    

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