Sudan may be one of the oldest national sides in Africa, but despite their venerable age have never qualified for the finals of the FIFA World Cup™. Sudanese football had its greatest year in 1970, when the national side won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first and last time in their history and dominated the second stage of FIFA World Cup qualifiers to reach the final round, where they faced Nigeria and Morocco. However, the national side were unable to recreate their previous form and three draws and a single loss to eventual qualifiers Morocco were not enough.
The current crop
In January this year Sudan took part in the Nile Basin Tournament, a friendly competition with seven competing nations held in the Egyptian city of Ismailia. The result, a fifth place finish courtesy of two losses to Kenya and Congo DR and a lone victory over Tanzania was disappointing, but Sudan returned to their best in the qualifiers for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. They remain in contention for a spot at the finals as they battle it out at the fore of Group I with favourites Ghana.
The key players
Midfielder and team captain Haitham Mostafa is the most acclaimed Sudanese players of recent times, his performances one of the main reasons for Sudan’s qualification for the African Cup of Nations in 2008, after a 30-year absence from the competition. Another two players crucial to the side’s success are sharpshooters Mohammed Ahmed Bisha and Bakri Al Medina who play with Mostafa at Sudanese club Al Hilal.
Coach: Mohammad Abdalla Ahmad
Best performance in a FIFA competition: FIFA U-17 World Cup Italy 1991 (Group stages)
Former stars: Sadiq Manzil, Amin Zakki, Majed Aboujanzir