Cape Verde’s remarkable journey to the top of African football

( CNN) Cape Verde, a remote Atlantic archipelago, is not the most likely candidate for soccer supremacy. And yet, remarkably, the island nation has risen from obscurity to the phase where, until a few months ago, they were the top ranking team in Africa.

But how? The obstacles stand in the way of the archipelago, 600 km off the west coast of mainland Africa, are many. The standard of league football isn’t that high and resources are limited — for instance squads based in Santiago, the largest island, all play in the same, old-fashioned stadium. Unlike football-mad Nigeria, with a population of 181 million, Cape Verde only has 500,000 people from which to source footballing excellence.

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