Several players from Greek based Victorian NPL clubs, Port Melbourne Sharks, Heidelberg United and Brunswick City are amongst a 12 man Australian contingent who will form part of the 32 man South Sudanese National Squad. They will play the Seychelles over two legs in a preliminary round African Cup of Nations tie this coming week.
South Sudan’s national team coach, Ashu Cyprian Besong has scouted far and wide in selecting players from the South Sudanese refugee diaspora in Australia. Such players include Port Melbourne Sharks keeper Majak Mawith, as well as Sharks’ midfielder Maker Maker.
From Heidelberg United’s ranks will go defender Peter Deng and former Berger’s ace striker, “King” Kenny Athiu who is currently with Melbourne Victory and who made his international debut for South Sudan last month against Equatorial Guinea.
Brunswick City defender Mathiang Mathiang has also earned a call-up. The remainder of the Australian contingent includes Dour Chol and Denis Youngule, also from the Victorian NPL, whilst from the WA NPL come Jackson Morgan, Friday Zico and Yacoub Mustafa. Joining them will be Central Coast Mariners duo Ruan Tongyik and Abraham Majok.
Another two talented Australian footballers of South Sudanese heritage, Thomas Deng (Peter’s brother) and Awer Mabil would have certainly joined the Aussie contingent in the squad had they not already been snapped up to play for the Socceroos.
Nicknamed the ‘Bright Stars’, South Sudan’s team will be attempting to qualify for their first international tournament since being admitted to FIFA in 2012, soon after the east African country gained recognition as an independent nation. If they win their upcoming two legged tie against Seychelles, the Australian based contingent of players can expect further call–ups as they will progress to face Burkina Faso, Malawi and Uganda in Group B of AFCON Qualifiers in November.