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Sudanese football woes

Kennedy Gondwe/Twenty Ten

Article synopsis: Analysis about the state of Sudanese team in the run up to 2010 World Cup qualification

Date: 20090907

Text: “My team could not match the quality of Ghana,” Sudan coach Stephen Constantine admitted after the Desert Hawks succumbed 2-0 to the Black Stars on Sunday.

The result at Accra’s Ohene Djan stadium ended their hopes of qualifying to next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

They remain rooted at the base of Group D with one point.

At least Sudan can remain optimistic about qualification to Angola’s African Cup of Nations tournament.

If Benin and Mali--the other members of the group--fluff in the remaining two fixtures and Sudan wins both, it will be guaranteed a place at the 27th edition of the competition.

Yet Constantine’s observation deserves much more reflection.

Probably Sunday’s result mirrors the state in which Sudanese football finds itself today. A sharp contrast exists.

Back in 1957, Sudan became the first hosts of the African Cup of Nations tournament.

They ended up losing 2-1 to Egypt in the final.

In 1963, Sudan were again in the final.

But the result read 3-0 in favour of Ghana.

Ironically, it was not until 1970, under the tutelage of Czech Jiri Starost, that they finally cut the mustard when they defeated a stubborn Ghana 1-0 to lift their first-ever Africa Cup.

Since then, their fortunes embarked on a free-fall.

They have, to date, only been to the finals of the Nations Cup seven times and consecutively missed out on 15 occasions.

Yet...

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