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Northern Bahr el Ghazal to host “peace” football competition

August 17, 2012 (Rumbek) - South Sudan’s State of Northern Bahr el Ghazal said Friday it had completed preparations to host the quarter final of a football competition organized to promote peace and unity in the country.

Tong Deng Anei, the state Minister of Youth and Sports said the exercise would also answer demands by the country’s Football Association which requires all states to compete at a local level to select best clubs to play at the national level competition in Juba.

Anei said event the will be the first ever football match between Aweil Meriekh Club and Bentiu Nahda club on Saturday, August 18, 2012 in Aweil Freedom Square football field. This match will be followed by another competition between the same teams on Saturday, August 25, 2012 in Bentiu Downtown.

“The match is highly expected to promote peace not only by excited supporters of the two clubs but also by youth and sports institutions of entire Republic of South Sudan, in engaging youths in productive sport activities. The match will be organized around the theme ’A Goal for Peace’ ", he says

He explained that thousands of supporters including men and women from the two states of Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Unity are preparing to attend and watch the match.

“Our coaching staff members are set to provide a fair judgment among the two teams. This group of top coaches from Kuacjok and Rumbek will work with the teams throughout the competition where the winner for South Sudan Semi-final Cup for 2012 will be selected to play in Juba on Saturday September 5, 2012”, the minister explained.

This comes following the conduct of similar competition involving Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal in July. Officials say Aweil Meriekh Club beat Grass Kuacjok twice in Aweil and Kuacjok on July 28th, and August 4th, respectively.

The newly independent state of South Sudan became the 209th member of FIFA - world football’s governing body - earlier this year, during its annual congress by consensus. This preceded membership at Confederation of African Football (CAF) in February before it officially became eligible to become a full member of FIFA after FIFA dropped its two-year waiting rule for new members.

The new nation was not able to take part in the qualifying competition for next year’s African Cup of Nations as it started before it joined CAF. The country will now be eligible to play in the qualifiers for the 2015 tournament and the 2018 World Cup finals after identifying it best players.

The country’s is yet to secure membership in other international sporting associations including the International Olympic Committee.