In an awe-inspiring journey, South Sudan’s men’s basketball team has achieved the impossible, securing a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“A Dream Come True”
In a historic match at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Manila, the South Sudanese squad emerged victorious, defeating Angola with a remarkable score of 101-78. This win marked their first-ever qualification for the upcoming Summer Olympics.
Overwhelmed by the magnitude of their achievement, forward Nuni Omot shared his emotions, stating, “It’s unbelievable, it’s a dream come true.”
South Sudan became an independent nation in 2011, and the journey from there to the Olympic stage was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
South Sudan’s path to the Olympics was paved by their performance at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Outshining the Competition
By outshining the competition, they earned the distinction of being the top African nation in the tournament.
In a day of significance for African basketball, Egypt’s loss to New Zealand ensured that South Sudan stood as the last African team remaining in the competition.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and their basketball team ranked 62nd in the world, made its international debut only six years ago, as reported by Reuters.
According to ESPN, the transformation of South Sudan’s basketball program was spearheaded by retired two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng, who took over the reins three years ago.
Luol Deng couldn’t hide his emotions as he described the journey, saying, “It’s an unbelievable story. It’s an underdog story that, not just for the South Sudanese, not just for Africa, but for the rest of the world.”
The South Sudanese team is a blend of lesser-known and former NBA players and promising young talents like 16-year-old Khaman Maluach, a 7-foot-2 giant who has shone brightly in the tournament.
Khaman Maluach likened the team’s journey to a movie, underlining the extraordinary nature of their success.
Chicago Bulls G-League player Carlik Jones played a pivotal role in the historic victory, leading the team with an impressive 26 points and 15 assists, achieving his third double-double of the tournament.
Overjoyed by the win, Carlik Jones expressed the significance of their victory, stating, “It means the world, it means the world to the people back home. It’s just a blessing.”
The 2024 Olympics are set to kick off in Paris next July, and South Sudan’s men’s basketball team is poised to make an unforgettable debut on the global stage.
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