Tuesday, July 10, 2012
South Sudan Football Team to Take on Uganda
A year ago, on July 10, 2011, just a day after the country became independent from Sudan, South Sudan football team played a game against a Kenyan club, Tuskers FC. Although the newcomers scored within ten minutes, they were ultimately defeated 3-1. In August, they drew a game with an Ugandan club with scores of 1 all.
These results do not indicate that the South Sudanese would pose a strong challenge to the Ugandans. Although South Sudan has some football clubs which took part in Sudan Premier League before the separation of the country, they were of comparatively lower standards to the best clubs in the north. Therefore, as South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) president remarked in an interview with FIFA, although they do not have to start from scratch, there is still a long way to go. South Sudan lacks a premier league of her own. Starting one will be an essential step for the development of the sport. Development of infrastructure is also very important.
International experience is important for the South Sudanese in their bid to field a strong team by the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. According the SSFA president Chabur Goc Alei, about a hundred players from South Sudan are playing for clubs in the North and are willing to play for their country. Their participation will add valuable experience to the newly established team. Currently, almost all the players in the national squad are locally based and lack international experience.
South Sudan football team is currently coached by Zoran Gjordjevic, a 60 year old Serbian who has coached many clubs and a few national teams in the past, including Sudan. His most notable achievement as a coach was in 2010 when he saw the Bangladesh team win the gold medal at the South Asian Games. Gjordjevic was appointed as coach of South Sudan just weeks ago in late June 2012.
Out of the sovereign nations which were either created or ended international isolation during the 21st century, Afghanistan has made several notable achievements in sports. Its cricket teams and football teams have reached a level which was unthinkable a decade ago. Whether South Sudan will equal or surpass their achievement is to be seen.