South Sudan admitted as a member of CAF

South Sudan was admitted as a member of the Confederation of

African Football on Friday, becoming the world’s newest footballing

nation.

Africa’s football body accepted the application by the South

Sudan Football Association to become its 54th member, meaning South

Sudan is now recognized as an international team.

South Sudan gained independence in April 2011.

In the presence of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his CAF

counterpart Issa Hayatou, a delegation from the SSFA was presented

with a CAF flag to fly at their headquarters in Juba.

Delegates at CAF’s General Assembly meeting in Libreville then

stood for the world’s newest country’s national anthem.

”We are proud to have you as a member and now we would like to

see you in our tournaments,” Hayatou said. ”We are delighted to

have you.”

The country could also become a member of FIFA at the world

football body’s Congress in Budapest, Hungary in May.

Later, speaking to reporters, Blatter said South Sudan joining

Africa’s football body was ”a small thing but quite

significant.”

The South Sudanese delegation, which included federation

president Oliver Benjamin and the country’s minister of sport, also

handed over South Sudan’s national flag, which will now join the 53

others that CAF flies at its official gatherings and events.

”Greetings and thanks to all of you from the football fans of

South Sudan and its federation,” Benjamin said.

The young federation’s first president then told The Associated

Press that before his new country could think about trying to

qualify for tournaments, or even playing in a first full

international match, it needed basic essentials.

”We are a country that has just come out of war,” Benjamin

told AP as CAF delegates congratulated him as their newest

colleague. ”We would love to have an Olympic stadium in our

capital … but above all we lack even the balls and the T-shirts.

We don’t have those things in our country.

”Some of our player use their socks, put clothes in them, wrap

them up and play with it. That is our love of football.”

Benjamin also said the national team was urgently looking for a

coach.

”A professional one,” he added. ”We need all these

professional things. We must build it (South Sudan football) on a

solid foundation.”