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South Sudan into Afro-basket quarters-and Juba is ecstatic!

By Richard Sultan

The South Sudan basketball team locks horns with Africa’s reigning champion, Tunisia in Kigali on Thursday, in a David vs Goliath clash.

It’s an event South Sudanese fans can’t wait for, and the streets of Juba are in exuberant mood waiting for the game scheduled for 6.00pm, CAT.

The national men basketball team is taking part in the tournament for the first time, and have reached the quarters, courtesy to a run over neighbors Kenya and Uganda.

The side beat Kenya by 60-58 in a nerve wrecking knockout encounter on Tuesday evening.

Uganda succumbed to South Sudan at an earlier stage.

Jok John, an airtime vendor in Juba Town expressed optimism to Juba Echo that the trophy was coming home.

“We made it to the quarters on the first attempt which is a surprise to many people but let them wait for the real surprise of us lifting the trophy,” he said.

Joyce Poni, a residence of Gudele and a student of Juba University said she will be among the first to welcome the team at the airport upon their return.

“Quarter final is already a great achievement but if we win the trophy, I expect even our President to join people like me in welcoming the boys back home,” before adding that she is willing to sleep at the airport if that is what it will take to take a glimpse of the boys.

For his part, Abdalla Simon, a taxi driver who plies the Gudele-Juba route said his prayers are with the boys.

“I pray for more victories for the boys because that will change the narrative about our country,” Simon said, a reference to the constant war stories about South Sudan.

South Sudan is currently ranked 14th in Africa and its living up to its status as the dark horse of the tournament so far.

The country made it out of a difficult group D in the tournament that comprises of Cameroon, Senegal and Uganda.

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