For the first time in decades, a Sudan national team has been assembled without players from the nation’s two most glamourous clubs, El Hilal and El Merreikh.

Desert Hawks Technical Advisor, Mohamed Abdallah Mazda, assisted by Manager, Burhan Tiya, named a 25-man squad for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 qualifier away to Burundi on Sunday in Bujumbura, overlooking players from the bitterest rivals.

And the squad bereft of players from the two most successful clubs, which has fuelled the achievement of Sudanese football, will be seeking for a good run in the first leg against host Burundi.

Hilal Obeid, Ahly Shendy, Ahly Atbara, Hilal Kadougli are amongst the clubs represented in the 25-man squad.

As part of preparations briefly interrupted by a FIFA ban earlier in the month, the Desert Hawks engaged Ahli Khartoum in a test match (won 4-0) last Friday to gauge their readiness ahead of the trip to Bujumbura.

We have overcome our frustration after the suspension was lifted. We have been training intensively for the past six days.

Though the first halve of the Sudanese Premier League ended a month ago, the players are in a good physical situation.

African football has developed a lot and every team has become tough to beat. Burundi eliminated Sudan in the qualifiers for the 2014 edition of the CHAN in South Africa, and is therefore a big challenge ahead of us, said Burhan.

The second leg takes place on Friday, 28 July 2017, with the winner facing Ethiopia at the final round of the Central-East Zone qualifiers for the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Akram Al-Hadi Saleem (Hilal Obeid), Mohamed Adam Dida (Hilal Kadugli), Awad Kafi (Ahly Atbara), Mohamed Al-Jamri(Ahy Khartoum)

Defenders: Bakri Basheer, Ali Khalafallah (Hilal Obeid), Hamza Daoud, Mustafa Kershum and Mohamed Haggar (Khartoum Watani), Amjad Ismail and Faris Abdullah (Ahly Shendi)

Midfielders: Muhannad Al-Taher, Nasreldin Al-Shigel , Abdulrahman Iashag and Mufadal Muhammad Alhassan (Hilal Obeid), Walildin Khadir, Mujahid Faroug, Khattab Faisal, Yasser Muzzammal and Omar Ibrahim Ammare (Ahli Shendi) Elhamy Youssuf (Hay El Wadi)

Forwards: Amin Ibrahim and Saifel’Terry’ Malik (Khartoum Watani) Mu’az Algoz (Hilal Obeid)

Source: Confederation Africaine de Football

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