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Wuilito Fernandes gets first start for Cape Verde in important win over South Africa

Island nation back in reckoning for World Cup spot.

MLS: Combine Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Friday was a historic day for Wuilito Fernandes, as the Orange County SC rookie made his first start and played his first competitive game for his country, Cape Verde, in a World Cup qualifier at home against South Africa, which they won 2-1.

Fernandes, the 27-year-old rookie who has carved out a professional career and now an international one to boot through hard work and willpower, slotted in just behind the forward in Lucio Antunes’ lineup, and put in a 66-minute shift. South Africa took the lead in Praia, courtesy of a 14th-minute goal from Tokelo Rantie, but Nuno Rocha scored two goals, in the 33rd minute and a penalty in the 38th, to put Cape Verde ahead for good.

Cape Verde have never qualified for a World Cup, and still have a long way to go, but with the win they are only a point off the Group D lead, and another shock win next week, in South Africa against the South Africans, would put them in a terrific position ahead of the final two matches in group play. If they are in first place in the group when all is said and done, they’ll nearly be there. But that’s on the horizon, first there’s next week’s game against South Africa.

Congratulations to Fernandes on the personal and team milestone, and best of luck in the return leg.

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