Sports can be the masterstroke to having a peaceful country

Sports can be the masterstroke to having a peaceful country
South Sudan National Basketball team (photo credit: Luol Deng Foundation)

The South Sudanese sports calendar has been packed with various activities from last month, with many teams traveling outside the country to compete in various tournaments.

The Bright Starlets flew out to Ethiopia for a friendly match against the neighbors and lost with a terrible scoreline. At the end of the match, the players hugged one another and trooped en masse for a group photo at the stadium in Addis Ababa, with match and team officials flanking the players on the sides with admirable smiles.

Men’s Under-23 also traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to represent the country in a regional junior CECAFA tournament. This time, the young Bright Stars did not disappoint. They won a Bronze medal after finishing third while Tanzanians emerged as the victors.

So resilient were our boys that they even thwarted the danger that was posed by Kenyans in their pursuit for glory. Again, a floodgate of goodwill messages, congratulations, and praises emerged as their compatriots lauded the good work they did in Kenya.

Yei Joint Stars traveled to Kenya for a CECAFA regional tournament and began their journey with an impressive performance where the girls defeated Djibouti 2-1.

The next results yielded calamitous defeats. However, they bowed out of the tournament with honor, having competed in their maiden regional tournament and representing the country as the first league champions.

As of now, the Bright Starlets are in South Africa for COSAFA. The girl traveled brimming with confidence and yearning to lay their hands and make history for the country.

As we wish them the very best, we still remember the recent splendid performances that the national basketball team staged in Kigali, Rwanda, at the AfroBasket 2021.

On Monday, the national basketball team captain Kuany Ngor Kuang revealed how the adrenaline shot up in the dressing room as the South Sudanese team took to the basketball court to represent the country. From the fans to the players: the whole scene was painted with emotions inspired by the spirit of patriotism.

Power of sports

“What touched me, and I hope [touched] my colleagues [too was that] whenever the National Anthem was being sung, you could see how people shed tears; it is something amazing but it [also] brings [emotions] to someone [whose mind] gets back home,’’ Kuany told The City Review in an interview.

Kuany’s statement on the recap of Rwanda’s tournament not only inspired patriotism but also underlined the unity that sports inculcate in the minds of the people.

Former Ivory Coast footballer who played for Chelsea for over 10 years, Didier Drogba, is remembered as a beastly striker in world football. But in their home country, Drogba is considered more than a sportsman. He is a statesman too.

While captaining the Ivory Coast’s national team in 2006, at the height of the civil conflict in Ivory Coast, Drogba made an ultimatum to the warring factions and told them to choose between two things. They were to either continuing with the war at the expense of the team missing the African Cup competition or stopping the war and having the team flying the Ivorian flag in the tournament. Peace won!

Ivory Coast gained normalcy and that is how sports united a polarised country. It is prudent to note that South Sudan can rise above its conflict just through sports. It can render strife and negative ethnicity irrelevant, hence, bringing unity based on patriotism.