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South Sudan's priority is a football team

A new country needs many things: passports, stamps and a currency, to name a few. For Republic of South Sudan, there was a further priority - a football team.

sports Updated: Jul 11, 2011 23:51 IST

A new country needs many things: passports, stamps and a currency, to name a few. For Republic of South Sudan, there was a further priority - a football team.

As part of the independence celebrations, a friendly against a Kenyan premier league team, Tusker, was scheduled Sunday. But who would play for the new national side? The southerners who regular represented united Sudan, were contracted to clubs in Khartoum and could not get permission to leave.

But James Joseph, a veteran striker playing for a club in Goa, did not think twice, paying his own way to Juba. His teammates at the 10-day training camp were all locally based, including captain Khamis Leiluno.

Early in the game it seemed they would win but after taking the lead, the team scored an own goal, then the Kenyan team doubled their tally. A second own goal made it 3-1.