The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

South Sudan attempts to qualify for 2015 African Cup, Nigeria top seed

  • Print

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - The world's newest nation has entered its first major football tournament. South Sudan is one of 51 countries to try and qualify for the African Cup finals next year in Morocco.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011 and was granted membership of both the Confederation of African Football and world body FIFA in 2012. The national team has played just a handful of games but will try and join the elite of African football on its first attempt.

CAF said defending champion Nigeria was seeded No. 1 for the qualifiers, with Ghana No. 2 and Ivory Coast No. 3. The top 21 seeds will gain automatic places in the final qualifying round and 15 teams will eventually join host Morocco at the continental championship next January and February.

The 30 lowest ranked countries will have to play preliminary games to decide the seven who will join the final group stage. South Sudan is ranked the lowest of the 51 to enter qualifying, below Eritrea and Mauritania, who have never been to a big tournament.

Of CAF's 54 member nations, Somalia and Djibouti didn't enter. Morocco already qualified as host.

South Sudan will know who it faces in its first qualifier after the draw on April 27. CAF also said the dates of the final tournament in Morocco would be Jan. 17 to Feb. 7.

In other decisions following its executive committee meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday, CAF also announced Algeria, Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Zambia as candidates to host the 2019 African Cup. Libya will host in 2017.

Algeria, Ivory Coast and Guinea are contenders to stage the Cup of Nations in 2021. The hosts of both editions will be chosen in September.

The African football body returned to a more thorough qualifying format for the next Cup of Nations after curtailing the last edition because of back-to-back tournaments in 2012 and 2013.

Nigeria won the African title last year in South Africa and is seeded highest, with teams ranked on the basis of their performances in the last three African Cups and qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil. Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Burkina Faso were the top five African teams, according to CAF's rankings.

CAF also ruled that future hosts of the African Nations Championship, the continent's lower level tournament for domestic-based players, would be forced to suspend their national league while the event is on. This year's ongoing Nations Championship in South Africa has been undermined after the host team struggled to free up some of its leading players from their club commitments.

___

Gerald Imray is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.