One of the first tasks for Cape Verde coach Lucio Antunes after leading his little known team to the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals was to phone friend Jose Mourinho to say happy birthday.
The Real Madrid boss was likely to be the one doing the congratulating after Antunes guided his the team from the small island nation to the last eight of Africa’s top tournament.
Antunes’ achievements in South Africa are starting to be nearly as special as those of Mourinho.
He has been at the heart of Cape Verde’s fairytale, backing up his outspoken and charismatic character with tactically astute coaching. More than that, he’s clearly a motivating force for his squad.
Captain Fernando Neves says Antunes is “very good” as a coach but also like an older brother for the players.