By Kitab Unango
At least 36 male and female coaches including referees are attending a five-day intensive training in preparation for the peace tournament to be held in the protection of civilians site (PoC) in Juba.
Twenty-four teams drawn from the PoC and six zones within the Juba city are expected to participate in the mini-tournament which starts next week.
William Ongoro Peter, the conflict resolution and peacebuilding expert with Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI), said the tournament intends to realize sustainable peace through sports in the country.
“We cannot realize development without investing in peace,” Ongoro said during the opening training session at St. Mary’s College in Juba on Monday.
The training has been organized in collaboration with the South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) with funding from Swedish Lottery.
“We also incorporate elements of conflict and peace building in the training to rehabilitate and transform them to be tolerant, peace loving and replicate the same in their respective communities,” Ongoro said.
The tournament will mark the second phase of the peace and reconciliation initiative by the WPDI that began in 2017 in Torit, Eastern Equatoria State.
“We have seen the potential of realizing peace through sports, that is why we are expanding our activities to reach Western Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile State and all parts of the country including administrative areas,” Ongoro said.
South Sudan communities need to be reconciled in the aftermath of the conflict that broke out in December 2013. The conflict threatened to tear the social fabric of the country after it attained independence from Sudan in 2011.