President Salva Kiir on Monday applauded the national sports teams for “honoring the country” and asked politicians to emulate the national teams and use politics to unite the people.
South Sudan men’s basketball team has emerged as one of Africa’s strongest teams after a top notch performance that saw the Bright Stars qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
They had beaten the continent’s strongest teams including Egypt, Senegal, and Cameroon in the FIBA Afrobasket Qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the Under-20 national football team reached the quarterfinals of Africa Cup of Nation in Egypt last month despite being eliminated by The Gambia.
Meanwhile, the Under-17 team has booked a place in the upcoming continental competition in Algeria, and the senior football team are still battling for a place in the 2023 AFCON competition in Ivory Coast.
In his remarks during the reopening of the first session of the national legislature on Monday, Kiir said he thanks the teams “from the bottom of my heart” for the job well done.
The president urged the politicians to translate what he called the social success of the sports teams into how they do politics.
“Let us make the recent social successes of our sports teams, in how we do politics, the success of our basketball and football teams has given us a great honor. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for showing a different side of our country potential,” Kiir said while addressing the opening session of the parliament.
Luck of financial support
The national football federation has often decried the luck of government support to the national football team – including lack of incentives to motivate players.
On March 23, the Bright Stars almost failed to travel away to Congo Brazzaville for their away game due to financial setbacks. But they eventually traveled the day before the game.
The President of the South Sudan Football Association Augustino Madout, expressed his disappointment over the lack of support from the government for the national team.
General Maduot Parek said the national team had to charter a plane to Congo and Tanzania on loans last Wednesday to compete in the AFCON qualifiers matches.
“The charter flight is not yet paid, we have put all efforts as we use our friend to pay for the flight as a loan but it has not yet been paid now, all the accommodations we made it on loan through our connection with friends who are willing to support the national team.”
“But we don’t have any resources or fund for the national team, for the government as you have said it, they promised us. And according to the minister, he will take the responsibility of the national teams later.”
Efforts to contact Dr. Albino Bol Dhieu, the national Minister of Youth and Sports were unsuccessful.
However, in his previous remark, Minister Albino Bol said his ministry was directed by President Kiir to present a budget for all national teams that are presenting the country.
It remains unclear whether the budget has been presented or approved.
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