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Juba Stadium set for Sudan derby, today

Kei Emmanuel Duku/William Madouk

 

All roads lead to Juba National Stadium as the national team, Bright Stars, set their sights on victory against Sudan in today’s FIFA World Cup qualifier at Juba National Stadium.

Sudan National Team is already in the County to face South Sudan.

Bright Stars’ Head Coach Nicolas Dupuis expressed his team’s strong will to win.

“I have a very good team,” Dupuis declared. “We need your support because we are going to play a very difficult game tomorrow [today],” he said during a press conference held at the stadium.

Acknowledging the strength of their opponents, Dupuis emphasized his team’s ambition.

“Sudan has a very good team, but we also have a very good team. We are going to play with a lot of ambition and the ambition is to win,” he added.

The French coach also highlighted his focus on elevating the team’s performance.

“I want to improve the level, we worked a lot and I hope we are going to do the best during the game,” Dupuis stated.

Echoing Dupuis’ optimism, Bright Stars captain Peter Maker declared his team’s readiness to secure victory, especially with the backing of their home crowd.

“The goal is to win tomorrow because no excuse and we are playing at home and we have support at home,” Maker asserted.

“I know the fans will turn up in good numbers tomorrow and we will play with our hearts,” he continued. “We will give it all! Everything we have to spread for this country and to make the 12 million people happy!” Maker concluded with a passionate declaration.

Meanwhile, Sudan National Team Head Coach James Kwesi Appiah made a passionate plea for peace ahead of their crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against South Sudan today.

Speaking to reporters, Appiah acknowledged the devastating conflict in Sudan that has displaced many and claimed thousands of lives over the past year.

“As we play here back home in Sudan, some of our players are losing family members,” Appiah said.

“Perhaps if we win today’s match, they will be happy, and the war may end. We are using football as a symbol of unity and peace. We hope we win so that the war comes to an end.”

Appiah revealed that due to the conflict, the Saudi government hosted Sudan’s last two World Cup qualifiers preparation against South Sudan and Mauritania. He added that domestic competitions were shut down when he assumed his coaching role.

“I came at a time when there was no football in the entire Sudan for about seven months,” Appiah explained. “Despite being a coach in the country for the past two years, I had no idea about the whole national team.”

He described the challenges of assembling a team amidst the crisis. “I only knew 4 to 5 players, but I had to focus on Al-Hilal FC and Al-Merriekh FC. It was difficult with only two players abroad who didn’t even respond to call-ups. So we had to concentrate on the available players.”

Sudan and South Sudan have a history of peaceful encounters beyond the football pitch, having drawn twice in past CECAFA competitions. However, Appiah anticipates a tough match.

“Football is a diplomatic tool,” Appiah emphasized. “Our ultimate goal is to make the spectators happy and ensure a closer relationship between the two nations.”

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