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Nicolas Dupuis, Bright Stars coach (L) and Augustino Maduot Parek, the President for SSFA.

 New Bright Stars coach signs 3 year deal with SSFA

The South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) signed on Thursday a three year contract with French coach Nicolas Dupuis to take charge of the national football team popularly known as Bright Stars.

Augustino Maduot Parek, the SSFA President said the new coach who replaces Italian Stefano Cusin whose contract expired in September will lead the team in the upcoming qualification matches in group B of CAF qualifying group for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“I want to declare to the people of South Sudan, to the football lovers in our country that we have a new coach, we think that we want to get further to the Africa Cup of nation and to world Cup qualifiers and to other categories of qualifications,” Parek told journalists during the ceremony held at the SSFA headquarters in Juba.

Albino Kuek, the SSFA spokesperson said the hiring of Dupuis who hitherto had been managing the Madagascar national team brings an end to months of searching for a new coach of the Bright Stars.

 “We are glad that we are announcing the new coach for the Bright Stars,” Kuek said.

The Bright Stars failed to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Group G containing Mali, Congo, Gambia and South Sudan. Mali and Gambia qualified for the AFCON tournament to be held in Ivory Coast.

South Sudan is preparing to kick off in November it’s qualification matches in group B of CAF qualifying group for the 2026 FIFA World Cup which contains Senegal, DR Congo, Mauritania, Togo and Sudan.

Managerial career

In August 1996, Dupuis became the manager of Yzeure. During his time at the club, Yzeure were promoted to the Championnat National in 2006, as well as beating Ligue 1 club Lorient 1–0 in the 2013–14 Coupe de France on 4 January 2014, before losing to Lyon 3–1 on 22 January 2014 in the round of 32.

In March 2017, Dupuis was appointed as the manager of the Madagascar national team. On 16 October 2018, Madagascar qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after beating Equatorial Guinea 1–0 in Antananarivo, marking the nation’s first ever AFCON appearance. The team went on to reach the quarter-finals.

In January 2019, it was announced that Dupuis would combine his role as Madagascar manager with that of French club FC Fleury 91’s technical director. In March 2019, Madagascar extended his contract until after the 2019 AFCON. His contract expired in July 2019, but in September 2019, it was extended for four more years.

In April 2021, the Malagasy Football Federation suspended Dupuis without pay for “neglecting his managerial duties in order to pursue commercial interests for personal publicity”, with Éric Rabésandratana taking charge of the national team whilst Dupuis served his suspension.

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