Angolan domestic football earned its place in the African spotlight during 2022 with an excellent run from champions Petro de Luanda to the semifinals of the 2021-22 CAF Champions League and now the country’s top domestic talent will be on display this month in Algeria for the 2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN). Petro and another top club from the capital, Primeiro de Agosto, contribute 12 of 23 players in coach Pedro Gonçalves’ 23-player squad for the competition as the Palancas Negras attempt to surpass their best ever finish of second achieved at the 2011 edition in Sudan. Angola will clash with Mali and Mauritania in Group D with only one team in the group moving on to the knockout stages.
Gonçalves continued his successful spell last year in the Angolan program with an impressive record, earning a promotion to the senior national side after guiding the under-17 national team to its first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2019. The former Primeiro de Agosto youth team coach expressed optimism based on the team’s preparations in the Algarve region of Portugal where the Palancas Negras defeated local fourth tier club Olhanense 2-1 in a preparation match. Thursday will see Angola play one more friendly against Sporting CP’s “B” team before heading to Algeria where their first match is crucial against Mali on January 16.
Players to watch include fullbacks Eddie Afonso and Tó Carneiro on the right and left flank respectively, who both were important performers for Petro during their CAFCL run last year along with speedy winger Jaredi who is also included in the Angola squad. Primeiro de Agosto deep-lying midfielder Herenilson played every minute for Angola during their 2019 participation at the Africa Cup of Nations and the 26-year-old figures to be an important leader in Algeria. Veteran goalkeeper Hugo Marques recently moved back to Angola with Petro after time with South African club Cape Town City, allowing him to be eligible for the CHAN and boost the Angolan goalkeeping corps.
More on the team is below.