South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011, following almost 50 years of civil wars. The terrifying but fascinating process of the birth of a nation is accompanied by death, malaria and financial meltdown. Seeking to form a national football team, the new country calls in the Serbian Zoran Djordjevic, a hugely successful veteran coach. The film follows Zoran’s team over its first year, from scouting for players in the wilderness to signing up a sheep called Champion as the mascot. Zoran’s win-at-all-costs style soon leads to conflict with the officials.
Sam Benstead began his career in television after studying philosophy at Oxford University. Today he is known as an award-winning director who has filmed in over 20 countries including Congo, India, Fiji, South Sudan, Peru, Malaysia, Singapore and Uganda. Benstead fluently speaks the rare Juba Arabic dialect and also knows Fijian and Hindi.
Cruickshank on Kew: The Garden That Changed the World (2009), Congo: War and Peace (2010), Spies Beneath Berlin (2011), Coach Zoran and His African Tigers (2014)