Bentiu — Ethiopia beat South Sudan 1:0 as the Tusker-sponsored Confederation for East and Central African Football Association (CECAFA) football tournament kicked off in Kampala, Uganda Saturday.
The match, played at Mandela national stadium was South Sudan's first major tournament, since world's newest nation gained independence in July last year.
Zoran Djordjevic, South Sudan football coach said he was impressed with his team's performance, despite the loss. The future, he added, remains bright for sports in a country that has just embarked on nation building, after decades of civil war.
"When a team loses, for me is too painful but because when you lose is not really well but we have to be realistic this team is very new," he said.
Djordjevic, who has 14-years experience as coach, said South Sudan still, lacks the basic requirements needed for it to compete favorably in major tournaments, in terms of medical facilities, infrastructure and financial aspects.
In July last year, South Sudan played to a 2-2 stalemate with Uganda in a friendly match played in Juba, the South Sudan capital. The match was Djordjevic's first competitive game in charge as coach of the new nation.
Last month, the Chairman of South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) was sacked over alleged mismanagement of the country's football affairs, a decision many fans said would negatively affect the development of football in the country.
Yank Rihanno Mayen, a South Sudanese student who watched the match said he remains optimistic that his country will end the tournament with silverware.
In a separate match, Uganda Cranes beat Kenya's Harambe Stars 1-0,ending its three-year jinx in major tournaments.
South Sudan 0