South Sudan’s Basketball team shines on the Global stage and qualifies for the Olympics

In a heartfelt culmination of years of dedication and perseverance South Sudan is the world’s youngest country and has secured its place at the Paris Olympics next summer as the top African finisher at the FIBA World Cup. This triumph marks a monumental milestone for a nation that gained its independence just 12 years ago. Luol Deng is the former NBA star and founder of the South Sudan national basketball team. He had a vision to use basketball as a beacon of hope for his homeland. On a jubilant Saturday, that vision became a reality.

South Sudan’s path to the Olympics

In the final game of the World Cup for both teams, South Sudan delivered a resounding victory defeating Angola 101-78. Carlik Jones led the charge with an impressive stat line of 26 points 15 assists and seven rebounds. The win combined with Egypt’s 88-86 loss to New Zealand in a game that concluded shortly after secured the Olympic berth for South Sudan as the highest-ranked African team in the tournament.

South Sudan’s journey to the Olympics is not merely a sports story; it’s a testament to the power of unity, camaraderie, love, and friendship. Coach Royal Ivey aptly described the team as “a beam of light.” In a country that has been independent for just over a decade, this achievement is monumental. Luol Deng’s vision of using basketball to inspire hope and foster positive change in his homeland has become a reality.

The victory against Angola showcased the talent and depth of South Sudan’s basketball team. Marial Shayok contributed 18 points, Nuni Omot, the reigning MVP of the NBA-backed Basketball Africa League, added 17 points, and Wenyen Gabriel chipped in with 15. These players, alongside Carlik Jones, exemplify the talent and determination that propelled South Sudan to this historic Olympic qualification.

South Sudan and Japan secure Olympic spots

South Sudan’s remarkable achievement was complemented by Japan which secured its place in the Olympic men’s basketball field as the highest-ranked World Cup team from Asia. Japan held on for an 80-71 victory over Cape Verde adding another layer of diversity and competition to the Paris Olympics’ basketball competition.

As South Sudan and Japan celebrate their well-deserved Olympic berths. They join Australia (the Oceania automatic qualifier) and France (the host nation) as teams already confirmed in the 12-team Olympic men’s basketball field. The FIBA World Cup continues to serve as a platform for global talent to shine with seven teams including South Sudan and Japan emerging as Olympic qualifiers.

South Sudan’s journey to the Paris Olympics is a testament to the power of sports to inspire, unite, and uplift nations. Luol Deng’s vision of using basketball as a beacon of hope has transcended the court bringing pride and joy to a young nation. As the world watches South Sudan and Japan, the global basketball community celebrates their resilience, talent, and the enduring spirit of competition. The Paris Olympics will undoubtedly be a stage for these nations to shine on the international basketball stage.

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