22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
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Cape Verde become smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup

LUANDA (Angola) - As Cape Verde handed Cote d'Ivoire their second loss of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers, they were finally able to celebrate qualifying for the World Cup for the first time ever in the history of their nation.

Aside from making history in that regard, Cape Verde are now also the smallest nation to ever qualify for a World Cup as well, beating the record that was previously set by Montenegro in World Cup 2019.

Montenegro seemed to have shattered the record in China with a reported population of just over 620,000 at the time. The previous record holder was Qatar, whose population was just under 1 million in 2006.


Cape Verde is reported to have a population of 571,966 as of Sunday, February 26, 2023, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.

Country Estimated population at time of World Cup qualification
Cape VerdeCPV 572,000 (2023)
Montenegro MNE 620,000 (2019)
Qatar QAT 988,000 (2006)
Panama PAN 1,500,000 (1970)
Israel ISR 1,600,000 (1954)


While they might be the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup, their star player is far from a small player. Walter "Eddy" Tavares, the 2.20M (7'3") center, has arguably been Cape Verde's best player through the Qualifiers averaging 15.0 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game before their World Cup qualification-clinching win.

Now, they have locked up a spot to play against the world's best nations in basketball in the upcoming World Cup later in the year.

However, Cape Verde might not hold onto this record for long. Iceland (and their population of 347,101) can potentially break that record tonight if they beat Georgia by 4 or more points.