The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
South Sudan loses to Mozambique 5-0 in country's 1st qualifying game for a major tournament
CAPE TOWN, South Africa - South Sudan lost to Mozambique 5-0 on Sunday in its first qualifying game for a major tournament.
FIFA's newest member received a place in the first round of qualifiers for next year's African Cup in Morocco after Eritrea withdrew from their preliminary match, but was then outclassed in Mozambique in the first of two legs.
The return leg will be played May 30 in Khartoum, Sudan, because of safety concerns in South Sudan.
Malawi, Benin, Namibia, Mauritania, Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia and Kenya also won their first legs over the weekend. Libya, which will host the African Cup in 2017, drew 0-0 at home with Rwanda.
Thirteen countries will progress to the second round and join Seychelles, which went through after Gambia was disqualified from all African competitions for two years for fielding overage players in a youth tournament.
Ultimately, seven nations will reach the main African Cup qualifying group stage to play alongside seeded teams like defending champion Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana. The 16-team African Cup of Nations will be held in Morocco from Jan. 17-Feb. 8.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. It joined the Confederation of African Football and became FIFA's 209th member country in 2012. Before Sunday, its only other competitive games were in an East and Central African regional tournament.
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