Trouble deepens, Luol Deng threatens to resign from South Sudanese Basketball Federation

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By Morris Rawal  

Luol Deng, the president of the South Sudanese Basketball Federation, has vowed to resign if the two federation officials who have been suspended are reinstated.

Deng Biar Deng, the federation’s Secretary-General and Finance Secretary, suspended Marier Anyuat in July 2022.

The two officials, according to Deng, “made it exceedingly difficult for the office to work.”

“Somethings were being done without our knowledge,” Deng, who has since replaced the suspended officials, Luol Deng said in a press

Deng stated that he will not accept to work with the duo even if they are found not guilty of any of the accusations made against them, even though the committee established to investigate the conduct of the troubled officials has not yet presented its report.

“Investigations are still ongoing [but] if they are reinstated then I will step down. I will never work with those individuals,” vowed Deng.

Only one day after the national basketball team returned from a trip to Rwanda, the site of the third round of the FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers, Anyuat and Biar were suspended.

By July 25, the investigative committee was expected to submit its final report. They haven’t done it yet.

“I have been trying for the longest time to approach it in the right way but it is just not going well. And those individuals keep on giving misleading information in the name of the federation and make my communications with the local federation difficult.”

Deng accused the two officials of disrespecting the rules of the game, being disloyal, and tarnishing the reputation of their nation.

He said that the two were working behind his back and claimed that South Sudan almost lost its spot in the current qualifications due to covert communication with international organizations.

 “By submitting a fraudulent document to FIBA requesting a full representation of SSD at the 2nd FIBA Africa Mid-Term General Assembly on March 31st, 2022 without the knowledge or approval from the President of SSBF.”

It appears that the power struggles and infighting began as early as 2020. Deng went on to say that his juniors disregarded his advice to separate some of the team members who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Nairobi in October 2020. 

“After some team members and delegation contracted COVID-19 virus on a trip to Cameroon, the president asked the SG to lead those who tested negative after the competition to travel and isolate in Kenya, (he) ignored the directive.

“The SG and FS decided without the knowledge of the president to approach and hire staff and national team coaches to influence the trajectory of the teams.

“They decided to directly communicate with the then potential lead players (of the South Sudan Women’s National Team) to falsely share that the president does not intend to support the women’s team.”

The president added that Angui had previously threatened to oust Lindsey Harding from her position as head coach of the South Sudan Women’s National team without his consent. 

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