Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


‘Greater than basketball’: South Sudan go from underdogs to history-makers

Manila, Philippines – South Sudan have shone at the 2023 FIBA World Cup and its basketball dreams aren’t stopping there. On Saturday, in the Philippine capital, Manila, the world’s youngest nation secured their first Olympic basketball berth after beating Angola 101-78 to clinch the lone FIBA Africa direct qualification spot at Paris 2024 . “We

‘Greater than basketball’: South Sudan go from underdogs to history-makers

Manila, Philippines – South Sudan have shone on the 2023 FIBA World Cup and its basketball goals aren’t stopping there.

On Saturday, within the Philippine capital, Manila, the world’s youngest nation secured their first Olympic basketball berth after beating Angola 101-78 to clinch the lone FIBA Africa direct qualification spot at Paris 2024 .

“We earned it,” stated Royal Ivey, the Vivid Stars head coach at a press convention after defeating host country Philippines within the classification spherical.

“We competed from zone 5 [in the Afrobasket qualifiers] to now, my guys are resilient, they know work, they push ahead, they fought day-in, day-out, and we received right here due to the laborious work and the sweat that we put in each day. Now we’re reaping the rewards, so it’s not over.”

South Sudan’s 2023 FIBA World Cup marketing campaign has been outstanding.

In its first participation within the Africa qualifiers, the nation of about 11 million folks – barely a decade previous at the moment – shocked the continent by topping the each first and second rounds to clinch a maiden World Cup berth.

Matched with Serbia, Puerto Rico and China in Group B, South Sudan travelled to Manila looking for to advance to the second spherical and make all of it the way in which to the ultimate section.

Ranked 62nd on this planet, South Sudan impressed with a powerful begin to their marketing campaign in opposition to Puerto Rico earlier than the Caribbeans rallied to safe an extra time win, 101-96.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The crew stored their hopes up and made historical past with a dominant 89-69 win over Twentieth-ranked China earlier than bowing out of competition for the second spherical with an 83-115 loss to sixth-ranked Serbia.

Regardless of falling brief and getting relegated to the classification spherical, the expertise has been optimistic for South Sudan.

“It’s our first time taking part in [at a World Cup] and having the nationwide crew come this far, it’s been nice for us and simply seeing the potential now we have, I feel sky’s the restrict for us,” Vivid Stars main scorer Carlik Jones of the Chicago Bulls advised Al Jazeera.

‘There aren’t any egos’

Even if South Sudanese stars corresponding to Luol Deng and Manute Bol had reached the NBA, turning into contenders in world basketball meant constructing from scratch.

In 2019, former Chicago Bulls star Deng grew to become the president of the South Sudan Basketball Federation. With no indoor basketball area within the nation, Deng had his work reduce out for him.

The 2-time NBA All-Star personally recruited South Sudanese gamers from the diaspora and briefly coached the crew earlier than appointing Royal Ivey, at the moment an assistant coach within the Houston Rockets, to steer the crew within the 2021 AfroBasket match and the World Cup.

“He’s such an excellent dude, so unselfish that there are occasions the place I really feel like he places everybody earlier than himself, and it’s unbelievable,” stated Jones of Deng.

“He’s giving again to the event of the sport, he helps with on-court stuff, off-the-court stuff, he’s a man who permits you to come to him if you happen to want something, even when it’s small discuss.”

It’s this basketball tradition that Deng got down to instil that allowed the nation’s finest gamers to catch onto the dream.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

In keeping with crew captain Kuany Kuany, gamers like Sunday Dech, Majok Deng and Deng Acuoth, have been approached to play for world quantity three facet Australia, but they selected to hitch the Vivid Stars.

Due to Deng’s sturdy foundations, new gamers like reigning NBA G-League MVP Jones and Los Angeles Lakers’ Wenyen Gabriel have been in a position to simply develop chemistry with the squad, regardless of solely taking part in with the crew for the primary time within the World Cup.

“The best factor I like about this crew is that everyone understands and everyone buys in. There aren’t any egos that say ‘me, me, me’,” Kuany advised Al Jazeera.

“We’re taking part in for what’s on the entrance [of our jerseys] – South Sudan – and never for the identify on the again. That’s what makes it really easy to assist lead this crew as a result of everyone simply loves the thought of profitable. No one desires to make it about themselves.”

Within the World Cup, the Vivid Stars waved the South Sudan flag that includes the slogan “greater than basketball” as they known as for peace and unity of their conflict-ridden house.

After declaring independence in 2011, South Sudan was plagued with civil warfare that displaced greater than 4 million folks due to violence and famine.

However the Vivid Stars have grow to be a beacon of hope for the nation.

1000’s of followers met the crew on the airport once they got here house from Egypt after their historic World Cup qualification final February. Some even travelled to Manila to cheer for the crew on the Araneta Coliseum within the quadrennial match.

Again at house, pictures and movies of locals streaming the sport in colleges and outside stadiums circulated when South Sudan secured their first-ever victory within the World Cup.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Greater than Deng and the federation’s efforts to develop the game and the present pool of gamers inspiring one another, in addition to the youth to chase goals of taking part in within the NBA and the best stage of basketball, the Vivid Stars will help construct the younger nation.

“This speaks of the potential that South Sudan has not simply in basketball, however actually in each sector,” stated captain Kuany.

“If we preserve trusting in ourselves, the plans and the event targets that now we have, we might actually construct South Sudan to be top-of-the-line international locations, not solely in Africa however on this planet.”

Read More

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You May Also Like


Blueface Some Dude Stabbed Me!!! Gym Confrontation Captured on Camera 8/23/2023 1:19 PM PT Instagram / @bluefasebabyy Blueface is nursing fresh wounds suffered in...


Danielle Ballard, a former standout basketball player for Louisiana State University, passed away at the age of 29 after she was struck by a...


Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker


Judgment Day Overkill, Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus Is a Lemon, More WWE Raw Takes0 of 4The Judgment Day continues to dominate Raw but...


Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is expected to make — by far — his biggest-ever career payday when he takes on WBC heavyweight...


Rutgers football sent out an offer over the weekend to Mikahi Allen, who is one of the top underclassmen products in the state. The...


Mateusz Gamrot is moving up the rankings, though under less-than-ideal circumstances. An injury to opponent Rafael Fiziev brought an abrupt end to their UFC...


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes, including one to returning star Travis Kelce, and the Kansas City Chiefs overcame three...


Erin WalshSeptember 20, 2023Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesThe Cleveland Browns were in desperate need of a running back following Nick Chubb's season-ending knee injury suffered on...


Chris Towers walks you through his Week 3 TE rankings Sep 21, 2023 at 5:40 pm ET • 1 min read USATSI I would...


Travis Kelce is laughing off those Taylor Swift dating rumors. The Kansas City Chiefs tight end responded to an Instagram video montage from NFL...


Fantasy Football Winners and Losers After Cam Akers Gets Traded to Vikings 0 of 6Cam AkersJayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty ImagesRunning back Cam Akers has finally found...