Despite the fact that the islanders are the highest positioned side in Group A on the FIFA World Rankings, ahead also of Morocco and Angola, expectations are low for the tournament debutantes … certainly outside of their own country.
And they have shown no sign of pressure or nerves, in stark contrast to Bafana in recent weeks.
“The pressure will be on South Africa,” Antunes told reporters. “We are here, we are happy to be here. There is no pressure to play good football. We qualified for this tournament; that is a big deal for our country.
“It’s totally different for Bafana Bafana because of they are the hosting country and the fans will put pressure on them. They are a big team, there are expectations on them.
“We have worked very hard to be here. We don’t have any top players in our team, we play as a team. We work hard, the players are determined to write history.
“My advice to them is to keep working like that because when you succeed for the first time the people will be waiting for more success, but honestly success only comes from hard work,” Antunes says.
The coach caused some grumpiness in the Bafana camp a few weeks ago when he was quoted as saying the South Africans were a “weak” side, comments that Igesund called “immature” if true.
There is certainly a feeling that the Cape Verdians will have nothing to lose though, a point also made by skipper Nando.
“We are here to enjoy ourselves and learn. We want to enjoy every minute of this tournament. The spirit is very high and all the players are close to each other. We are working as one family,” he says.