Angola World Cup 2006 National Football Team Profile
Author: Pavlos Skoufis
The Angola national football team, nicknamed Palancas Negras, ("Black Impalas") is the national team of Angola and is controlled by the Federação Angolana de Futebol. On October 8, 2005, Angola qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever, when they beat Rwanda 1-0 in Kigali. The team is coached by the nation's favourite Luis Oliveira Goncalves, who had earlier successes while managing the Angola Under-20 National Team. Goncalves took over the men's team in 2003. Angola entered the World Cup Qualifiers for the first time in 1986.
Angola finished top of Group 4 in the African Qualifying Zone. Group 4 was considered one of the toughest groups and Angola finished top of the group against teams such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Angola actually finished with the same points as Nigeria, but automatically qualified for the World Cup 2006, as it had a better record in the head-to-head matches.
Celebrations and festivities broke out over the entire nation after the team qualified for the first time, in a magnitude only having been experienced before, during the independence celebrations 30 years ago. Every Angolan, from the youngest to the country's president, José Eduardo dos Santos, has now football in their hearts. Upon arrival in Luanda, the Angolan capital city, after their win against Rwanda, the Angolans gave a "heroes" Welcome to the team with every household celebrating.
Captain Fabrice Akwa scored some crucial goals, including the winners against Rwanda in the last game, and in the game against Nigeria. Akwa is the fans' favourite having scored 31 goals in 67 international appearances. "This is the first time we are in the finals and we want to show off our football. We also want to show there is more to Angola than just war and oil," Akwa said.
Benfica's striker Pedro Mantorras (Pedro Manuel Torres) is the most famous player outside Angola. However, Mantorras was unfortunate after suffering an injury, thus missing Angola's last crucial matches. Pedro Mantorras has setup a local housing project in Angola for the kids who live on the streets, which he funds with a fat percentage from his salary.
Back in 2002, Mantorras received a very serious injury which threatened his football career. After 2-years of painful recovery, the player once known as the new "Eusebio"came back into action in January 2006, helping Benfica win the 2004/2005 Superliga.
Angola was seeded in the third place of Group D at the Leipzig Draw. You can read the same article plus view some interesting facts and figures for the Angolan national football team on http://www.worldcuplatest.com/worldcup2006/groupD/angola/teamprofile
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