Cusin upbeat after Kenya win

Cusin upbeat after Kenya win
Stefano Cusin, Bright Stars Head Coach speaking to reporters at the Juba Stadium (photo credit: Alex Bullen/The City Review)

The South Sudan men’s national football team is upbeat after the recent win over Kenya by a solitary goal in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The Bright Stars Head Coach, Stefano Cusin, said his team was ready to emulate the hard work demonstrated by their compatriots in the national basketball team by picking up points in the upcoming games.

Speaking to The City Review in a telephone interview on Thursday, Cusin said he expects more team performance changes after a morale-lifting display against Kenya, which he believes will go a long way in lifting South Sudan in the FIFA ranking index.

“Even friendly games contribute to the ranking and now we have some points after winning the game against Kenya so we expect improvement in terms of the ranking,” he argued.

He said the game had flashes of effective preparation.

“We were more organized, we had strategies in place and we were lucky to score the goal early,” he recalled.

He added, “we were very strong to stay in the game and to manage to defend till the end.”

Before meeting Kenya’s Harambee Stars, the Bright Stars suffered a 4-0 drubbing against a decent Malian side in the World Cup qualifier, a result that Cusin attributed to squad disruption due to injuries.

“We were beaten because we missed some key players, and Mali is a strong team and we did not prepare for the game. But against Kenya, we had more time to prepare for the game tactically,” he argued.

The team is expected to play against Senegal in November this year in World Cup Qualifiers Group B.

South Sudan currently ranked 167 in the FIFA ranking index as per the updated results on July 20, 2023. This meant a two-step drop from 165 in the previous two years.

The Membership of FIFA has expanded from 167 to 211 since the rankings began.