Angola take AFCON lessons in their stride

Angola take AFCON lessons in their stride

Angola coach Pedro Goncalves says they are heading home with heads held high after bowing out of AFCON in the quarterfinal stage.

The Palancas Negras had spent the previous 14 years either failing to qualify or being eliminated in the group phase, so reaching the last eight was progress.

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Goncalves watched his side overpowered, losing 1-0 to Nigeria in Abidjan on Friday. But, was far from being disappointed with their efforts in the competition.

 ''Until now, we've had a long journey. I am proud and filled with gratitude, grateful to my players, the team coaches and the entire staff. We were playing against a powerful team in Africa,'' said Goncalves. 

The 47-year-old Portuguese mentor, who gradually worked his way up from being in charge of the junior national teams to the senior side, led Angola to their best ever finish in the group stages at an AFCON.

He argues there's more to come if he stays on.

 ''We've put Angolan citizens first throughout the competition, this will see through a greater idea for another stage,'' he concluded.

In a tournament full of surprises, Angola certainly didn’t go off script and Goncalves wants this to be proof that the team is capable of being a threat on the continent.  

However, the coach is of the opinion there are too many doubters.

''Angola is a country with great potential not only in football, but sometimes I feel like people don't know what we need to do to achieve a higher level,'' he concluded

Angola’s football hierarchy have a tough decision to make as Goncalves confirmed his contract has come to an end, spelling an uncertain future for the team as well as the head coach.

He says there’s no rush to move on just yet.