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National coach complains S. Sudan neglects football

Ejulu Elamu
National football team coach Zoran Djordjevic accuses South Sudan failing to take sport seriously.
8.04.2013  |  Juba
Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic
Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic

Officials from the football association (SSFA) have failed to provide enough funds for developing football at the grassroots level, Zoran Djordjevic said.

That contradicts an ambitious national plan entitled South Sudan national work plan, a proposal for football project”. It outlines plans to identify young talent from the under 15, 14 and 9-year age groups, as well as working with the under 23-year-old Olympic team and the national team.

Djordjevic, who was born in Serbia and has previously trained around 30 teams, including the Bangladeshi national squad, claims that his salary has not been paid for five months amid South Sudan’s ongoing economic crisis. He said he started working in June last year and was only paid for three months of the eight months he has worked.

In Kator, Konyo Kkonyo, there are no more football grounds even though people are always saying they are supporting football in this country.”
Sestilio Lerib
A recent power struggle at the SSFA was a main stumbling block, he said, adding that a new board has now been chosen and work will get underway.

He outlined a number of ongoing disputes with the football association, including their failure to foot his hotel bills and to provide transport to a clinic when he was seriously ill.

The coach, however, stressed that the minister for sports and culture Cirinio Hitengi was generally supportive of his task.

SSFA officials argue that the national coach does not cooperate with them, often issuing documents which have not been given the green light by the board. You find documents written by him in every office of the land and he seems not to consult us,” an official said.

SSFA officials, speaking off the record, said that the football association is plagued with financial difficulties.

They said that internal wrangles from various cliques have been conclusively dealt with and urged politicians to provide land enough for football.

SSFA Secretary General Sestilio Lerib said that authorities were hampering the development of sport by selling existing sports grounds for commercial construction sites.

In Kator, Konyo Kkonyo, there are no more football grounds even though people are always saying they are supporting football in this country,” said Sestilio.
According to this year’s FIFA Coca Cola rankings South Sudan stands at 200 out 207 countries worldwide.