• Angola beats D’Tigers 65-59
Cape Verde edged Nigeria to Africa’s last qualifying spot in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers by beating Cote d’Ivoire 79 to 64 points.
Nigeria needed to defeat Angola in the last qualifying game, while hoping that Cote d’Ivoire would beat Cape Verde. A win for both Nigeria and Cape Verde meant the later would take the slot. And that was what happened yesterday at the Pavilhao Multiusos de Luanda, where the islanders handed Cote d’Ivoire their second loss in the series.
Nigeria’s late 59 to 65 points loss to Angola was of no consequence, as Cape Verde’s defeat of Cote d’Ivoire had already sealed their first qualification for the World Cup in the history of their nation. It also made Cape Verde the smallest nation to ever qualify for a World Cup as well, beating the record that was previously set by Montenegro in World Cup 2019.
Montenegro seemed to have shattered the record in China with a reported population of just over 620,000 at the time. The previous record holder was Qatar, whose population was just under one million in 2006.
While they might be the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup, their star player is far from a small player. Walter ‘Eddy’ Tavares, the 2.20M (7’3”) centre, has arguably been Cape Verde’s best player through the qualifiers, averaging 15.0 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game before their World Cup qualification-clinching win.
According to fiba.basketball, Cape Verde might not hold onto this record for long. Iceland (and their population of 347,101) can potentially break that record tonight if they beat Georgia by four or more points.