By Caoilte de Barra
The 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships will see some of the top talents from around Africa. Nine participating nations will bring their best talent to EFC Performance Institute in South Africa with eyes on taking home gold. Amongst the nine nations is Angola, which has the second-largest squad in the competition, second to the host nation, South Africa.
This will be Angola’s first outing at an IMMAF event since being approved as a member nation in March 2021. The selection process for their first-ever team saw them gather clubs from across Angola and select the best athlete for each category.
The federation’s president, Armando Carlos Diogo, believe’s their selection process and the number of entries make the team one of the strongest in the competition. The ultimate goal for the federation is to make it to the World Championships. However, Armando is focused on the federation’s success at the Africa Championships first.
“I believe that we are one of the strongest teams, given how committed we have been for a while. There is nowhere better than the IMMAF stage for us to show it.
“What matters to us is first place and being recognized as the best team in Africa.”
The importance of this event doesn’t go amiss for Armando. He believes that events such as the Africa Championships will help fighters achieve their dreams and potentially receive more support from their sports ministry.
“We have a wide range of excellent athletes, many of whom dream of making a living from fighting, from MMA to be more direct. So, being at an event will provide us with the opportunity for our Ministry to support our organization more. They know that we can reach the World Championships by leading and showing that we Angolans can compete equally with more advanced countries than ourselves with basic conditions.”
Across the fourteen entries, the Angolan team is not short on talent. The team has athletes from various backgrounds and a mix of experiences.
At Welterweight, Osvaldo Benedito poses a threat to the entire division. Benedito made his debut back in 2019 and is currently undefeated as an amateur. The grappling side of his game is what to look out for as the BJJ Brown Belt will likely have a significant advantage in that department.
Hailing from the same gym, Angolan Top Team, Divaldo Vicente shares similar credentials to Benedito. He is currently undefeated and is a strong grappler. His credentials as a blue belt include a continental silver medal and two national bronze medalists. Before his last fight, Vicente was promoted to purple belt and went on to win via submission, securing the SFL title.
In the Women’s Bantamweight division is Moneza Neves, another impressive grappler who has been training for seven years. After starting BJJ, Neves explained how the sport changed her life for the better and allowed her to build confidence. At 22 years of age, this will be her first MMA outing. However, the BJJ purple belt is striving to represent Angola worldwide. A gold medal at the Africa Championships could see her take one step towards that goal.
The youngest entrant on the team, Adalberto Ntyamba, trains out of Mainjala Team in Talatona. Despite his age, he is one of the most experienced athletes on the team and is even a coach at his club. His entry to the competitive side of the sport saw him lose his first two bouts back in 2019. Since then, he has gone on a three-fight tear under the SFL banner in Angola and finished his most recent fights via submission.
The depth in their team means that Angola could be one to watch at the Africa Championships as they aim for top spot. You can watch the 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships from 28 to 30 April 2022 on immaf.tv.
The Angola team for the Africa Championships is as follows.
Andreza Antonio – Women’s F: Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Moneza Neves – Women’s F: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Adalberto Ntyamba – Men’s M: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Maurio Silva – Men’s M: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Divaldo Vicente – Men’s M: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Elizandro Sousa – Men’s M: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Luan Tomas Shaka – Men’s M: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Osvaldo Benedito – Men’s M: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Ivandro Francisco – Men’s M: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Elisio Zua – Men’s M: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Garcia Kinkela – Men’s M: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Enoque Emilio Kakesa – Men’s M: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Stanislau Kakesse Wezy – Men’s M: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Juliao Pimenta – Men’s M: Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)