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Sudanese cheer rare win

Updated: 2012-02-01 07:55
( China Daily)

Sudanese cheer rare win

Sudan's Abdalllain Nagm Eld (bottom) vies for the ball with Burkina Faso's Beninwende Yann Jonathan Pitroipa during their Africa Cup of Nations match on Monday in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. Abdelhak Senna / Agence France-Presse

Fans celebrate after team claims first Africa Cup victory in three decades

KHARTOUM - Flags waved and cars honked in celebration on Monday night after Sudan's first Africa Cup of Nations win in three decades was enough to see it qualify for the quarterfinals.

"Up, up! Sudan up!" revellers shouted in the district of North Khartoum after Mudather Eltaib's two goals sealed a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso and provided the precious points to earn Sudan an unlikely berth in the next round.

Women stood in the middle of a busy road outside Khartoum's airport carrying national flags and shouting, "Sudan! Sudan!"

Elsewhere, revellers caused a traffic jam, an AFP photographer saw.

"I'm so happy because after 40 years I saw Sudan join the ranks of the biggest teams," said Ahmed Omer, 48, flying a large Sudanese flag from his car as he cruised the streets of North Khartoum with his family.

The last time Sudan reached the final eight, in 1970, it went on to win the title.

Sudanese cheer rare win

There was little to cheer about after that, as Sudan was knocked out in the first round in 1972 and 1976 and again in its next appearance in 2008.

But even before Monday night's win, coach Mohammed "Mazda" Abdullah said Sudan had regained respect through its showing at this Africa Cup of Nations.

After a spirited 1-0 opening loss to Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan on Thursday ended a 3 1/2 decade scoring drought with a 2-2 draw against Angola, its rival for the runner-up spot sealed by Sudan in Group B.

It is the only squad made up completely of local players in this competition, up against soccer highrollers, and was ranked second from the bottom.

"We have good news about Sudan. Because of this we are coming out into the streets to celebrate," said Omer's wife, Amal Mohammed.

Other than Sudan's constant sunshine, the soccer victory provides a rare bright spot for a country battling high inflation and other economic woes after the secession last year of South Sudan.

Sudan will meet Zambia in the last eight in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, on Saturday.

Agence France-Presse


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