South Sudan’s football team, the Bright Stars, on Friday departed to neighbouring Sudan to prepare for its first leg clash in the African qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Equatorial Guinea.
Head coach Ashu Cyprian Besong earlier named a 32-man preliminary squad to face the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea in a home-and-away showpiece for a place in the group stage.
The games are set to be played between September 2 and 10.
Besong, who was in July appointed as South Sudan’s fifth foreign coach, is seeking to rebuild the team, which has failed to progress from the group stages of all major international tournaments since becoming a FIFA member in May 2012.
S. Sudan is meeting the central African opponents for the third time following a 1-0 home win in 2015 and a 4-0 thrashing in the return leg of the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
The Bright Stars will play their home game outside South Sudan since its only national stadium is under renovation. Sudan and Uganda are some of the neighboring countries contending to host the match.
The 14 teams from the qualification play-offs will join other 26 highly-ranked teams in the group stage. Only five African teams will advance to Qatar 2022.
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