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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 12:24 GMT
Angola plans derailed
Mark Gleeson
Football Correspondent

Hertha Berlin striker Nando Rafael
Angola are hoping to convince Nando to play for them

Angola's preparations for their next World Cup assignment have been dealt a blow after the Cape Verde Islands pulled out of a scheduled friendly in Portugal next week.

Angola, who lead Group Four and must win in Zimbabwe on 27 March to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup finals for the first time, had arranged a game against the Cape Verdeans on 9 March.

But the game is now off after the Cape Verde Islands pulled out of the encounter because they are unable to raise a team.

The match was scheduled on a date outside Fifa's co-ordinated international calendar, making it difficult for the Cape Verdians to call-up their players, most of whom are based in Portugal.

Angola's planned trip to Portugal, which also included a friendly against Sporting Braga, is now in the balance, officials said on Friday.

A decision as to whether they will still travel will be made at the weekend. The 'Palancas Negras' have already played one warm-up game this year.

But coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves had to chose a home-based team, save for Portuguese-based Devibor, for the 2-0 win over Congo in Brazzaville on 22 February.

Goncalves is currently in Germany for talks with the Hertha Berlin striker Nando Rafael.

Angola are hoping to convince Nando to play for them. The young forward has refugee status in Europe and is waiting for a Dutch passport.

He has expressed his desire for play for the Netherlands in the future.

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