GUIMARAES (Afrobasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Cape Verde’s basketball team isn’t the first that comes to mind when the subject of Afrobasket 2013 title contenders, or even medal hopefuls, comes up.
There are many talented teams in Africa that have had some special moments in recent times, like Tunisia, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Angola and Senegal.
A word to the wise - review your history.
In 2007, the Cape Verdeans had their best-ever result in international hoops when claiming a bronze at the Afrobasket in Angola.
The national side hasn’t been able to build on that success.
They played at the 2008 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Athens and lost twice, and in 2009, the national team came in 13th at the Afrobasket in Libya.
Then in 2011, Cape Verde failed to qualify for the Afrobasket in Madagascar.
Last August, though, Cape Verde ensured their presence at the Afrobasket in Cote d’Ivoire by coming in second behind Senegal in Qualifying Zone II.
They prevailed in a do-or-die game with Mali, 80-63.
The confidence of at least one Cape Verde international is now soaring.
Ivan Almeida helped fire Vitoria Guimaraes to glory in the Cup of Portugal over the weekend and was named the MVP after pouring in 17 points, corralling eight rebounds and handing out four assists in the Final.
He had also been named the MVP of the Qualifying Zone II last summer for Cape Verde.
Almeida's brother, Joel, is also on the books of Guimaraes and plays for the national team.
If the national team can draw inspiration from the memories of 2007, anything is possible.
A top three finish is needed to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
As for the Cup of Portugal, it was staged for the 64th time.
Winning coach Fernando Sa said: "I believed in triumph and told my players that we would win this game.
"I know what this team is worth and my only fear was that my players might get some fatigue which could be decisive if Benefice were to gain an advantage.
"Our will was much greater than theirs.
"The audience was fantastic and I'm very pleased about that."