South Sudan’s WCup qualifying debut ended early by rain
South Sudan’s debut in World Cup qualifying will have to be played over two days after it was abandoned after just 10 minutes because of heavy rain on Wednesday with the score 1-1 against Mauritania.
Mauritania led after three minutes and South Sudan equalized in the fifth before the weather forced the first-leg game to be called off in the South Sudanese capital Juba.
It will be re-started on Thursday at the point where it was stopped.
The world’s newest nation, currently embroiled in civil war, is taking part in the early stages of the 2018 World Cup after being admitted as a member of FIFA in 2012.
Also in Africa’s first round of qualifying, Victor Wayamba’s Kenya beat Mauritius 5-2, the small Indian Ocean island of Comoros drew 0-0 with Lesotho, Burundi won 1-0 at Seychelles, and Tanzania beat Malawi 2-0.
Some of Africa’s lowest-ranked teams are this week beginning their quests to reach soccer’s biggest event in Russia in three years.
South Sudan’s first World Cup game ended prematurely, but there was still time for the East African nation’s first goal in the competition.
Dominic Abui Pretino scored it after Boubacar Bagili had given Mauritania a very early lead. Despite having no experience of World Cup qualifying, and little experience of international soccer, South Sudan was boosted by its first win in a competitive international last month in African Cup qualifying.
Southampton’s Wayamba didn’t score but captained Kenya to a big win in Mauritius to put the Kenyans in a strong position in their tie ahead of the return leg on Sunday.
Of all the 26 teams starting qualifying in Africa this week, South Sudan is not even the biggest outsider.
Somalia and Djibouti, both among the six lowest-ranked in world soccer, will start their World Cup quests on Friday. They are unlikely to be among the five countries from Africa that ultimately make it to Russia.