Cape Verde coach Bubista proud of AFCON journey despite heartbreak exit

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 5 Feb 2024

Cape Verde coach Pedro 'Bubista' Brito expressed his pride in his squad's performance despite their elimination from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in a quarterfinal penalty shootout against South Africa.

Cape Verde s head coach Bubista gestures to a player during the African Cup of Nations quarter final soccer match between Cape Verde and South Africa, at the Charles Konan Banny stadium in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. AP


"Congratulations to South Africa. We wanted to win, but that's football," a gracious Bubista said.

The Blue Sharks began their AFCON 2023 campaign by topping Group B with two wins and a draw.

They continued their journey by defeating Mauritania 1-0 in the round of 16 but fell to South Africa in the quarterfinals in a dramatic penalty shootout.

The 54-year-old Cape Verde native acknowledged the strength of their opponents and highlighted missed opportunities for his team.

"We had a fantastic team and faced worthy opponents too. We had opportunities to win the match but couldn't take them," he added.

Despite the disappointment, Bubista emphasized the accomplishments of his team.

"Our supporters should be pleased with what we've achieved here. We earned the right to be in the last four," he stated.

He acknowledged the challenges of tournament football and the role of luck in penalty shootouts.

"At times we were the better team, but in tournaments, if you don't take chances, it becomes difficult, and penalties involve some luck too," he reflected.

Bubista refused to blame the players who missed four spot kicks in the penalty shootout for the heartbreaking loss, including captain Patrick Andrade.

"The penalty takers are our best players, but when you're tired, it's not easy," he said.

"I'm so proud of what my players have shown here in Ivory Coast. They've represented Cape Verde wonderfully," concluded the former Cape Verdean footballer.

Despite their exit, Cape Verde's impressive performance in the tournament has garnered recognition, and Bubista's pride in his team's achievements is a testament to their hard work and dedication.

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