South Sudan’s Basketball Historic Journey to the Paris Olympics

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South Sudan prepares for Olympics in Kigali, Rwanda.
First Olympic appearance facing top teams like USA.
Historic progress from AfroBasket 2021 to FIBA World Cup 2023.
Influential role of former NBA star Luol Deng.

A Nation’s Hope: Preparations in Rwanda

South Sudan’s national basketball team, featuring NBA star Bol Bol, has embarked on a significant journey as they prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The team, filled with talented players, has chosen Kigali, Rwanda, as their training ground, utilizing the state-of-the-art BK Arena for their week-long preparation.

Historic Olympic Debut

For the first time in history, South Sudan will compete in the men’s Olympic basketball tournament. This monumental achievement marks a significant milestone for the young nation, which will face some of the world’s elite basketball teams, including powerhouses like the USA and Serbia. The 2024 Olympics are set to begin on July 28 in Paris, France.

Overcoming Challenges and Building a Legacy

South Sudan’s journey to the Olympics is nothing short of inspirational. Despite being the youngest country in the basketball world, the Bright Stars have made remarkable progress in just 12 years. Their journey began with a notable performance at the FIBA AfroBasket 2021, where they reached the quarter-finals. Their success continued as they qualified for the FIBA World Cup 2023, where they secured their Olympic berth by finishing as the highest-placed African team, ranking 17th overall.

Accommodation and Training in Kigali

While in Kigali, the South Sudanese team will be accommodated at the Onomo Hotel, ensuring they have a comfortable and conducive environment for their rigorous training sessions. The choice of Kigali as their training location is strategic, providing the team with top-notch facilities and a supportive atmosphere to fine-tune their skills ahead of the Olympics.

Star-Studded Roster

The South Sudanese team boasts a diverse and talented roster of 25 players, each bringing unique skills and experiences to the squad. Key players include Deng Acuoth, Deng Adel, Emmanuel Akot, Koch Bar, Bol Bol, Sunday Dech, Majok Deng, Wenyen Gabriel, Mareng Gatkuoth, Peter Jok, Carlik Jones, Kuany Kuany, Bul Kuol, Junior Madut, Thon Maker, Makur Maker, Jackson Makoi, Khaman Maluach, Mangok Mathiang, Lat Mayen, Kouat Noi, Nuni Omot, Marial Shayok, JT Thor, and Aher Uguak. This impressive lineup is expected to make a significant impact at the Olympics.

The Influence of Luol Deng

A pivotal figure in South Sudan’s basketball success is Luol Deng, a former NBA star who has played a crucial role in the development of the sport in the country. Deng’s dedication and passion have been instrumental in nurturing young talent and fostering a sense of unity and purpose within the team. His influence extends beyond the court, inspiring a new generation of South Sudanese athletes to pursue their dreams.

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