The newly independent South Sudan has Africa’s newest football team. The players have been training for the past 15 days, their work starting at eight o’clock in the morning.
On the pitch there is not a blade of grass while the tarnished goal posts have no net. The ground resembles a drought hit cabbage patch. But it is football with a smile and no shortage of resources will stop the spirit and commitment of the players.
All have come from local teams across South Sudan and have been in training for their inaugural international match in the new capital Juba.
Saleh Lolako Samuel is the Technical Adviser of South Sudan National Football team and he explained their ambitions.
“I think now we have a golden chance where we need to express and also maybe focus on some of our talented players, because we know we are like Kenya, Uganda and other African countries.
‘We feel we have the potential, we have the players so I think its a very big chance for us to tell the world that Southern Sudan has all the potential whether politically or in sports and other arenas,” he said.
A brass band from the South Sudan Police band will provide music for 2,000 primary school children to set the backdrop as the players make their entrance to the stadium in Juba.
When their flag is raised in the stadium it is hoped it will be the start of a journey to gain status in the African federation and subsequent appearances in international arenas where they want to play under the nickname, Bright Star.