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Djaniny Tavares Interview with FIFA on Cape Verde's World Cup dream

01 de Noviembre del 2016 10:42 am.

Santos Laguna striker Djaniny Tavares tells FIFA.com he's confident that Cape Verde will make it to Russia for the 2018 World Cup. 

In a recent interview with the World's governing body of football, Djaniny speaks about the modesty of a team with big hopes. As the only Mexican-league representative to compete in the most recent Africa Cup of Nations, the six-foot-three striker remains optimistic about his country's chances in international competition. An excerpt of the artice is below and the piece in its entirety can be read here. 

The date 14 October 2012 will forever hold a prominent place in the annals of Cape Verdean football. That day, the African country's modest national team pulled off one of the greatest surprises in recent history by qualifying for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations at the expense of giants Cameroon.

It was no one-off, either. From that moment on, the Blue Sharks became a continental sensation. A year later they were on the verge of an even bigger upset - knocking Tunisia out of 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Brazil qualifying - only to have their hopes dashed following a sanction for fielding an ineligible player.

Today, Cape Verde Islands want to go even further - all the way to Russia 2018 to be precise. The opportunity is there to do so, a fact nobody is more keenly aware of than Djaniny Tavares, one of the side's key figures throughout their fantastic journey. "I say this with humility, but we're going to do it," the fleet-footed striker told FIFA.com.

Despite all the positivity, however, Cape Verde Islands began the final round of Russia 2018 qualifying with a 2-0 defeat to Senegal. Much to Tavares' frustration, he was unable to play: "Unfortunately I couldn't participate because I'd just recovered from an operation and wasn't 100 per cent fit. I preferred to get back in shape in order to be able to help the team as much as possible."

Now, though, the 6'3" (1.90 metre) striker with a broad stride is back, and just in time. Cape Verde will host Burkina Faso in November in Group D, a pool that looks to be so tight that no side can afford to slip up.

"There was a lot of talk that this group gave us a great chance of qualifying," Tavares said. "But the other teams are really tough. Senegal have got players in the best leagues in Europe, Burkina Faso finished as continental runners-up and South Africa are in great form."