Sudan, an entirely home-based squad, reached the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals with a 2-1 over Burkina Faso on Monday. The victory, sending Sudan to the knockout stage for the first time in 40 years, was also its first win in the tournament since 1970, ending a winless streak of nine matches over three tournaments.
As a founder member of the Confederation of African Football with its own fine soccer tradition, Sudan’s descent to irrelevance following its African Cup win on home soil in 1970 was hard to bear, writes Mark Walsh. Sudan met powerhouse Ghana in the 1970 final where an early goal secured its only continental title.
But Sudan was then overtaken by other teams, and further cup appearances in 1972 and ’76 yielded a return of just four ties. After so many meager years, Coach Mohamed Abdallah -- in charge of the national team since 2004 -- said continuity and faith in young players was finally bringing the team renewed success.
“It’s very important. You have to follow and see the players all the time,” he said. “I have enough time to know all my players because they all play in Sudan. ...
“One of my objectives is to have a few players get to play outside."