South Sudan men’s basketball team gears up to make FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup history · Global Voices

In light rain, a young member of the NBA Africa basketball camp in Juba jumps during a practice match attended by Chicago Bulls star from South Sudan, Lul Deng. Photography by Tim Fritca/Kaffee Project. image source

smallest country From Africa, the Republic of South Sudan, could soon enter the history of basketball. Compete to qualify for the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup that will take place from August to September 2023 across the three Asian countries Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, “Bright stars” One match away from four other African representatives joining the tournament.

Under the guidance of former NBA star Lul Deng, the shining star from South Sudan faced doubts by winning eight of nine qualifying games in the Basketball Africa Qualifiers.

Known as the birthplace of the tallest people in Africa, South Sudan has a rich history in the basketball world. It was here that the second African-American and joint NBA Greatest Player, the late Manut Paul, grew up here and was chosen in 1985. His exploits during the 1980s and early 1990s sparked a wave of interest in basketball among Sudanese youth. When he retired, he returned to his homeland and actively participated in the liberation war in South Sudan. It paves the way for several players of Sudanese origin, including Lul Deng, the current president of the South Sudan Basketball Association.

In recognition of his work and commitment, Deng was awarded the OBE in July for his influence and influence in basketball (he has dual English and South Sudanese citizenship), furthering his efforts to elevate the sport beyond its club and national. the border.

The former Sudanese basketball players formed the South Sudan Basketball Association in 2011 and became members of the International Basketball Federation in December 2013. Due to the lack of infrastructure in Juba and other cities, most players were left to play abroad. The Federation is trying to develop and create a competitive league for players and women.

On the way to the World Cup

Young members of an NBA basketball camp in Juba before a practice game attended by Chicago Bulls star Lul Deng, a refugee from South Sudan. Photography by Tim Fritca/Kaffee Project. image source

In January 2020, the shining star lost to Kenya in the FIBA ​​Afrobasket qualifiers, but rose quickly, becoming the favorite for the World Cup. Apart from this loss, the team has won four of its previous matches. In November 2020, the opportunity to qualify for the Afrobasket tournament came up after Algeria withdrew due to COVID-19 concerns. The tournament brought together Cape Verde, Chad and South Sudan, who were able to qualify for Afrobasket 2021.

Ding took charge of building a competitive team by bringing together young players, many of whom play abroad. Thanks to the FastScout Pro tool, the team has improved, becoming one of the main contenders for participation in the World Cup. FastScout Pro is a platform developed to track player performance during matches, providing managers and technical staff with data for use in defining strategies and how to handle different matches.

With the next stage of the qualifiers slated to take place in November of this year approaching, South Sudan is ranked first in Africa in the FIBA ​​rankings. Some of the national team players also play for the Cobra Sport South Sudan basketball team. The team participated in the 2022 African Basketball League, a collaboration between the International Basketball Federation and the National Basketball Association to develop local talent from the African continent and showcase it to the rest of the world. This squad includes talented players like Paddet Wang, who comes off the bench and confirms his presence on the field as a goalkeeper, Ding Ring of Canada’s Newfound Rangers, and Noni Umut who enters the game in Puerto Rico shortly after play. Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets in the NBA Summer League.

Welcome with great fanfare

Returning from the fourth round of World Cup qualifiers, South Sudan President Salva Kiir hailed the team as champions. This fourth round of matches will determine the African teams that will participate in the World Cup. The fifth round will take place in November.

Thank you, His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit for your invitation and kind words of support! 🇸🇸🏀 pic.twitter.com/xs7UcG5Qvm

– South Sudan Basketball (SSBFed) August 31, 2022

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA), through its Twitter account, said that the shining stars were on the cusp of glory.

South Sudanese heroes return to Juba

The World Cup isn’t quite guaranteed yet, but the shining stars are on the cusp of glory!

Tweet embed #FIBAWC x #WinForSouthSudan | FIBAWCpic.twitter.com/KNqiXD982r

– FIBA ​​(FIBA) August 30 2022

It was almost time at Juba International Airport as the much awaited basketball team arrived with the players’ family, friends and fans. One of the team’s players, Paddet Wang, captured and posted the celebrations and openings on his Instagram page.

With the fifth and final round taking place from February 24-26, 2023, the shining stars are looking forward to qualifying for the World Cup for the first time as the world’s youngest democratic republic.

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