South Sudan will become a provisional member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Friday, the first step to becoming the world's newest footballing nation.
But the country, which broke away from Sudan and was declared independent in July last year, will need another two years before it can compete fully in all competitions, CAF general secretary Hicham El Amrani told Reuters on Wednesday.
South Sudan will be inaugurated in a flag-raising ceremony at the CAF Congress in Libreville on Friday and become eligible for immediate financial assistance from African football's governing body.
A new South Sudan Football Association was established last month and a first election for leaders will be held in April.
Full membership of soccer's world governing body FIFA, which already has 208 members, will be granted in 2014 after which South Sudan can play in the World Cup and African Nations Cup and enter teams in Africa's two annual club competitions.
In the meantime CAF will seek to provide assistance with the development of administrators, referees, coaches and sports medicine specialists, plus the establishment of a national league. "We are very keen to help get them on their feet," El Amrani said.