A section of football spectators at the Kuajok Freedom Square in Warrap State on 01 December 2022. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

Gogrial peace football tournament kicks off in Kuajok

The Greater Gogrial Communities Peace Tournament commenced at the Kuajok Freedom Square in Warrap State on Thursday under the theme ‘To maintain peace and harmony’.

The Greater Gogrial Communities Peace Tournament commenced at the Kuajok Freedom Square in Warrap State on Thursday under the theme ‘To maintain peace and harmony’.

Four football clubs drawn from the communities of Awan Muorkuau, Aguok Kuei, Apuk Lith, and Kuac are participating in the tournament which aims at buttressing peace, unity, and harmony. The opening game was played by Apuk Lith FC and Kuac Community FC.

Charles Chol Chol, the organizer of the Greater Gogrial Communities Peace Tournament, said the idea was birthed in 2018 when the communities in Gogrial were warring.

“The tournament is comprised of four teams according to four communities in the now defunct Gogrial State and it was organized this way when the said communities were having differences and there was cattle raiding and other forms of violence among them,” he explained. “The educated youths of then Gogrial State decided to have peace tournament played every December to boost peace, reconciliation, and unity among the communities.”

Chol said the first tournament in 2018 was won by the then hosts Kuac Community FC and Awan Muorkuau Community FC were crowned winners in 2019 and 2020 while the 2021 trophy was taken by Aguok Kuei FC.

He also revealed plans to incorporate Twic, Tonj East, Tonj North, and Tonj South counties into the tournament.

“The impact of this peace tournament in the last four years is physically seen here because there is no more community violence among the Apuk, Awan, Aguok, and Kuac sections,” he said. “There is an idea of involving the rest of communities and the name will be changed from community peace tournament to Warrap State counties peace tournament.”

The opening game between Apuk Lith FC and Kuac Community FC ended in a one-all draw.

The Apuk Lith FC head coach, Ngor Kuany Nyang, describes the game as fair.

“When you come and face another team, there are three things to keep in mind, one is to win, be defeated, or draw so the game was fair as you have seen and only a few blunders made us concede a goal,” he said.

On his part, the Kuac Community FC assistant coach, Mathuc Bol, said they had chances to score more goals but missed them.

“We equalized it to end in a one-all draw so in the next leg we will be more prepared and hope to win the game,” he said.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Kuajok Municipal Council, John Akol, welcomed the soccer teams and spectators and urged the players to participate with a spirit of peace.

“I am happy to welcome you all to Kuajok Town,” he said. “The players should play without violence and spectators must watch the games peacefully.”