Saturday, September 2nd will be remembered as a momentous day for the youthful nation of South Sudan. In less than ten years since the establishment of its basketball federation, South Sudan secured the sole qualifying spot for Africa at the FIBA World Cup 2023, thus earning a place in the prestigious Paris 2024 event.
Carlik Jones, the guard for the Chicago Bulls, delivered an exceptional performance, recording his third double-double of the tournament with 26 points and 15 assists. His outstanding play guided the World Cup newcomers to a resounding 101-78 victory over Angola at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila.
Meanwhile, Egypt found themselves in a position where they needed to defeat New Zealand by a margin of 23 points or more at the Mall of Asia Arena across town. However, the Tall Blacks took command during the second quarter and, despite a late comeback attempt, emerged victorious with a score of 88-86.
These outcomes guaranteed South Sudan the highest placement among all African teams in the tournament, consequently securing their participation in the forthcoming Paris event. Nuni Omot, a forward who contributed 17 points, expressed his astonishment and elation to the media. He described the achievement as unbelievable and a dream come true, emphasizing the remarkable journey of South Sudan since gaining independence in 2011. Omot conveyed his overwhelming emotions and gratitude for the opportunity to proudly represent his country on the Olympic stage, considering himself immensely fortunate to be part of this extraordinary experience.