By Adia Jildo
Over 10 members of the triumphant national basketball team of South Sudan are walking a tightrope after their foreign clubs warned of a breach of contract after they participated in the recently concluded FIBA World Cup 2023 qualifiers in Egypt.
The Minister of Youth and Sport Albino Bol Dhieu, confirmed to journalists recently that some players had risked their contracts with foreign teams to represent South Sudan at the Africa qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup to be hosted in Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan.
“Many of the players could not make it to Juba simply because we have permitted them to go back because they are for the season, the clubs that contracted them are currently playing and they had to do their work,” he said in Juba.
The FIBA World Cup tournament which South Sudan qualified for after beating Egypt, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo will start in August.
“Some of them lost their contracts holding millions of dollars,” Dhieu said.
Only 7 members of the triumphant national basketball team arrived in Juba to celebrate with local fans the victory.
Dhieu said the team captain Kuany Kuany will be coordinating with the government to get in contact with the other players for them to be able to play the World Cup tournament in August.
“We are very proud of you; this victory is dedicated to all the young people of South Sudan. It shows that we have potential and responsibility to change the narrative of this country,” Dhieu said.
Kuany Kuany the team captain said Basketball has made the country to be known globally and has unified the youths.
“I wish the whole team were here, South Sudan is known across the globe because of basketball,” he said.
Dr. Barnaba Benjamin Marial, the Minister of Presidential Affairs appreciated the team for their great work and patriotism, citing a need for them to work wherever they want but never to forget their country.
“Work wherever you are but never forget your country, we are proud of you the basketball team some of whom were born outside but they have never forgotten their country,” he said.