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Date: 24 March 2019

  Eastern African - Soccer

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News Headlines

South Sudan hold Uganda 2-2

[Posted 11 Jul 2012]
[By Charles Malingha]
South Sudan hold Uganda 2-2

A day after celebrating its countryís first birthday, South Sudanís national football team played its first international game on Tuesday and made their fans proud by drawing 2-2 with Uganda.

Noses and fingers pressed to any bit of wire mesh, squeezed onto any stadium wall or balanced precariously atop huge billboard signs overlooking the pitch, the crowd went wild at seeing their nation play its first official game.

"I like it because we have a national team and we have a country," said Margaret Igali, a singer in the national choir who hooted, hugged her fellow singers and made vigorous lasso moves with her hands every time her side advanced.

"The match is very good. It is the first match, and maybe the next one we will win," said South Sudan player Simon James, as he jogged off a pitch where fans clamoured to get through gaps between riot police to embrace players.

"Itís a promising first step," said South Sudan coach Zoran Dordevic.

The Serbian said it was very difficult to prepare his players to take on Uganda, a strong east African side that has played many international games together, while his players were still trickling in from teams in Sudan and East Africa just weeks ago.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan on July 9, 2011, after five decades of civil war that killed an estimated 2 million people and scattered the rest into the bush or abroad.

"These days South Sudan celebrated its first anniversary, and still thereís a lot of painful stories here, a lot of sadness, a lot of people are missing mothers, fathers brothers and sisters. For this reason, this game was like the final of the revolution," Dordevic said.

"The game --- it was very difficult for us as our players are still young and they donít have experience but we just thank God as we drew, and I think the next game will be bigger, and we have our freedom," said striker James Joseph Morgan.

Like the football team, the war-ravaged nation is starting from scratch.

"Our people have got a lot of problems but they will improve," said Elias Gideon, who hopes the new nation will play in the 2018 World Cup and one day beat the United States.

"Football is a very important game that unites people -- they come and socialise. You see South Sudan and Uganda coming together -- itís a very good game," he said.


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