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‘So Surreal’: South Sudan Beat Angola To Qualify For Paris 2024

  • 2 min read

South Sudan’s basketball team booked themselves a ticket to the 2024 Olympics on Saturday with a 101-78 win over Angola at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Manila.

They qualified for the Summer Games in Paris – their first ever appearance at the Olympics – as the best-placed team from Africa at the World Cup, after Egypt were beaten by New Zealand.

South Sudan, ranked 62nd in the world, played their first official international just six years ago in 2017.

“I’m speechless right now. To be quite honest, it’s so surreal. We’re going to the Olympics,” South Sudan coach Royal Ivey told reporters through tears.

“This team is a beam of light. Like I keep on saying every postgame, we’re bringing unity, camaraderie, love and friendship to this country,” he said. “This country has only been independent for 12 years. This is incredible. I take my hat off to my players because they trusted us from day one.”

Carlik Jones, who plays for the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, led the scoring for South Sudan on Saturday with 26 points and also had seven rebounds and 15 assists.

South Sudan, who were eliminated from title contention in the first round, beat hosts Philippines and China earlier in the tournament but suffered defeats at the hands of Puerto Rico and Serbia.

Previously South Sudan has only taken part in athletics events at the past two Olympic Games.

“We’re going to the Olympics. Thank you to the people of South Sudan for staying with us, supporting us. This is a great feeling. I wish I could bottle this up right now,” Ivey said.