South Sudan will play in their first World Cup qualifier when they face Mauritania on Wednesday, the first leg of their preliminary round tie. Having joined international football only in 2012, a year after the country became independent from Sudan, the team is facing its biggest challenge. They go into the tie boosted by achieving their first competitive win on 5 September – beating Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. “We are ready, totally ready. We know what we have to do and we can spring a surprise,” South Sudan captain Richard Justin Lado told Fifa’s website. “Our coach Sung-Jea Lee has created a style of play that’s based on defensive discipline and counter-attacking football, and I think we can cause some damage. We need to win, for many reasons, and we will win.” However, Mauritania are ranked 55 places higher than their opponents and will be hoping to stamp their authority on the game and finish the job when they host the return leg on Tuesday 13 October.