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JUBA CITY - 11 Jun 2024

South Sudan to inaugurate Juba Stadium, play first international match Tuesday

the newly reconstructed Juba National Stadium. (File photo)
the newly reconstructed Juba National Stadium. (File photo)

The newly reconstructed Juba National Stadium, which is also home to South Sudan’s national football team, Bright Stars, will officially be opened on Tuesday.

After the opening ceremony, the Bright Stars will face off with Sudan in a World Cup 2026 qualification match which will be South Sudan's first officially recognized international game since the country was admitted into FIFA on 25 May 2012.

The stadium whose rebuilding took two years at the cost of USD 5 million will be officially inaugurated by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Tuesday and the President of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) [International Federation of Association Football] Gianni Infantino is expected to grace the occasion.

Addressing a press conference in Juba on Monday, Dr. Joseph Geng Akech, the Minister of Youth and Sports, said President Kiir and FIFA’s Infantino are expected to attend the match.

“This is a historic day for the country and sports in general. We will also be receiving the FIFA president who is a friend of football and sports in South Sudan to inaugurate this very important stadium. Tomorrow (Tuesday) South Sudan will also play with Sudan for World Cup qualifiers,” he said. “So, there is an important day tomorrow for the nation, for the youth and the sports family. This press conference serves to announce and inform supporters to turn up for this very important game and also to witness the inauguration.”

For her part, Deborah Akech, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, said it is the first international game the country is going to host at the Juba National Stadium since independence.

“Tomorrow is the day that we all need to come and join our president and members of the football world governing body to celebrate our country,” she urged. “Since South Sudan became an independent country, it is the first international match we are going to hold in that stadium.”

Meanwhile, Gen. Agustino Maduot Parek, the President of the South Sudan Football Association, called on sports lovers to attend the whole day event.

“We have two occasions, the inauguration and the match and they are taking place at once because there is no way you will get a ticket and you want to use it only for the match,” he stated.

The Sudanese national football team arrived on 9 June 2024 in Juba to face the Bright Stars in a qualifier match for the World Cup 2026.

South Sudan was officially admitted as a CAF member on 10 February 2012 at the 34th CAF Ordinary General Assembly hosted in Libreville, Gabon, and admitted as a FIFA member on 25 May 2012 at the second session of the 62nd FIFA Congress hosted in Budapest, Hungary.