South Sudan name 12 Australia-based players for AFCON qualifier

South Sudan have named 12 Australian footballers for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in October.

The contingent, who play in either the Hyundai A-League or National Premier Leagues, make up a sizeable part of the nation's 32-man roster for their two-legged preliminary round tie against Seychelles next month.

Melbourne Victory striker Kenny Athiu  - who provided an assist on his international debut for South Sudan at the start of the month - has been joined by Central Coast Mariners duo Ruon Tongyik and Abraham Majok.

Majak Mawith (Port Melbourne Sharks), Peter Deng (Heidelberg United), Mathiang Mathiang (Brunswick City), Dhour Chol (Moreland Zebras), Maker Maker (Port Melbourne) and Denis Yongule (Geelong) all play in the NPL Victoria.

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Majok takes on North Shore Mariners
Central Coast Mariners forward Abraham Majok

Jackson Morgan (Stirling Lions), Friday Zico (Armadale) and Yacoub Mustafa (Perth), meanwhile, ply their trade in the NPL WA.

Last month, South Sudan boss Ashu Cyprian Besong gave international debuts to Mawith, Deng, Matiang, Morgan and Athiu: all players from the large refugee community who moved to Australia over a decade ago.

South Sudan – known as the ‘Bright Stars’ have only been a FIFA member since 2012, less than a year after they gained recognition as an independent nation.

Currently ranked 173 in the world, they are attempting to qualify for their first ever major international tournament after falling at the first hurdle on the road to Russia 2018.

The winner of October's two-legged tie will face Burkina Faso, Malawi and Uganda in Group B of November's AFCON qualifiers.