AFCON Qualifiers: 12 facts you didn’t know about São Tomé and Príncipe

Sao Tome will play Ghana today

São Tomé and Príncipe is an island in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa.

With a population of 201,800 people, São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African sovereign state after Seychelles, as well as the smallest Portuguese-speaking country. 

On Monday, Seleção dos Falcões e Papagaios will host the Black Stars at the Estádio Nacional 12 de Julho. 

São Tomé and Príncipe come into the matchday two of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers after losing to Sudan 4-0 last Wednesday. 

Ahead of their first ever meeting with Ghana, Joy Sports Owuraku Ampofo lists 12 facts about São Tomé and Príncipe that you most likely never knew about. 

São Tomé and Príncipe gained their independence from Portugal in 1975. It took about 10 years before becoming affiliated with Confederation of African Football (CAF). After the affiliation with CAF in 1988, São Tomé and Príncipe have never qualified for the African Cup of Nations. 

The first win in São Tomé and Príncipe’s history was in a friendly against Rwanda in 1977. A match they won 1-0.

In their history, São Tomé and Príncipe have managed two wins against Mauritius and Sierra Leone, the most against any side. 

São Tomé and Príncipe’s biggest victory in their football history was a 3-1 win against Mauritius in 2019. This was their first away win in a competitive match ever. 

4% of the squad plays their club football outside São Tomé and Príncipe. 

Seleção dos Falcões e Papagaios’ biggest aggregate victory was 5-2 against Mauritius in 2019. 

All-time leading scorer for São Tomé and Príncipe is Luís Leal who has six goals. 

São Tomé and Príncipe’s favourite opponent is Angola. They have scored seven goals against Palancas Negras.

Between 2003-2011 there was an eight year hiatus as the São Tomé and Príncipe national team failed to play any match, leaving them unranked in the FIFA rankings. 

In 2019 alone, São Tomé and Príncipe have conceded nine goals against sides such as Sudan, Mauritius and Guinea Bissau. 

The most recent FIFA rankings saw São Tomé and Príncipe jump 10 places to rank 180th in the world. They recorded their highest rank (115th) in March 2012 and they recorded their lowerst rank (200th) in September 2007. 

Losing 11-0 to Congo in 1976 remains the biggest defeat in São Tomé and Príncipe’s football history.

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