Experienced defender Ricardo has opted out of the Cape Verde squad for the African Nations Cup finals, opting to play for his club in Portugal instead.

He is one of three key figures missing from the 23-man squad named by the small island nation for the tournament in South Africa from January 19-February10.

Cape Verde make their debut at the continental championship without the 32-year-old Pacos de Ferreira defender, whose club are fourth in the Portuguese league standings.

Cape Verde coach Lucio Antunes, the first boss of the 16 finalists to name his squad, left out veteran captain Lito and striker Dady, both prominent players for the team in recent years.

The squad has just one home-based player, uncapped reserve goalkeeper Rilly from Mindelsense. The rest come from clubs in Angola, Cyprus, France, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Fock (Petro Atletico), Rilly (Mindelense), Vozinha (Progresso Sambizanga)

Defenders: Carlitos (AEL Limassol), Fernando Varela (FC Vaslui), Gege (Maritimo), Guy Ramos (RKC Waalwijk), Josimar (FC Dordrecht), Nando (Chateauroux), Nivaldo (Academica Coimbra), Pecks (Gil Vicente)

Midfielders: Babanco, David Silva (both Olhanense), Marco Soares (Omonia Nicosia), Odair Fortes (Stade Reims), Roni (Fola Esch), Stenio (Feirense), Toni Varela (Sparta Rotterdam)

Forwards: Djaniny (Olhanense), Heldon (Maritimo), Julio Tavares (Dijon), Ryan Mendes (OSC Lille), Ze Luis (Sporting Braga).