April 17, 2024

History for South Sudan as they qualify for FIBA World Cup

History for South Sudan as they qualify for FIBA World Cup
South Sudan basketball Team Qualifies for FIBA World cup

They needed to overcome Senegal to qualify for their first ever World Cup with two games left and they achieved the feat with a 83-75 outcome, a first win over the West Africans.

On Friday 24 February in Alexandria, history was made! East Africa's youngest nation South Sudan, under the guidance of former NBA All-Star Luol Deng will be at this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup set to be hosted in Asia. 

It was never a question of if but when South Sudan will qualify as Deng's charges headed to Egypt where the final qualifying window for teams in Group F is being hosted.

They needed to overcome Senegal to qualify for their first ever World Cup with two games left and they achieved the feat with a 83-75 outcome, a first win over the West Africans. 

They become the first African country to qualify for the World Cup in their first attempt. This is a culmination of about three years of work as South Sudan's first international competition was in 2020. 

This was one of the most anticipated African Qualifiers Group F clash and the Kuany Ngor Kuany-captained side will, finally, rise above their kryptonite, Senegal. 

In their last two meetings, Senegal has picked wins; a convincing 104-74 victory in their first encounter at the 2021 AfroBasket and a hard-fought 69-66 outcome in the First Round of the African Qualifiers. 

The loss to Senegal in August last year at the qualifiers held in Monastir, Tunisia remains the only defeat Deng's charges have suffered so far.

 

This a story of sheer belief for South Sudan, a side that entered its first major continental competition in January 2020 when they took part in the FIBA Africa Zone Five Afro-CAN pre-qualifiers held in Nairobi, Kenya. 

"This means everything. It is what we wanted to accomplish. This is a historical moment that can never be erased. For the guys that played with us all the way from the Zone Five pre-qualifiers to those that are here in 2023 and have made history, they will be remembered forever," Deng said in his post-match interview.

The tactician, who is also the federation president and has been alternating the coaching job with Brooklyn Nets' assistant coach Royal Ivy has blasted FIBA and the Egyptian federation for what he has termed as mistreatment of the South Sudanese fans. 

Deng says their fans who had travelled from far and wide to witness the team make history were denied access to the match venue and had to follow the proceedings from outside.