SSBF President Luol Deng. (Photo: FIBA)

Sports minister pushes basketball federation elections to February 2024, Luol in charge

South Sudan Minister of Youth and Sports Joseph Geng Akec has renewed his directives to the President of the South Sudan Basketball Federation (SSBF) to conduct elections in February 2024.

South Sudan Minister of Youth and Sports Joseph Geng Akec has renewed his directives to the President of the South Sudan Basketball Federation (SSBF) to conduct elections in February 2024.

Addressing a press conference in Juba on Tuesday, Geng tasked the federation’s president, Luol Deng, to continue leading the group and national basketball team as preparations continue for the Olympic Basketball competition slated for 2024.

“This press conference serves to clarify in clear terms the following three items: Pursuant to my recent ministerial directives dated 27 November 2023 in which I directed the President of the South Sudan Basketball Federation to organize elections in accordance with their constitution, the sports ministry wishes to clarify that until such elections are held in February 2024 the current leadership of the Federation led by Luol Deng and his executives will continue to stay in office,” he clarified. Adding, “The ministry encourages the federation to carry on with the basketball activities across the country, especially preparing the national basketball team for the Olympic Games to be held in 2024. This includes representing the country in other international duties and matches.”

“Lastly, to continue with organizing initiatives and projects for the federation,” Minister Geng added.

He assured the federation of the government of full support ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in France.

“The ministry avails good offices, resources, and efforts to assist the federation on any administrative challenges that they may be facing in due process of preparing for elections and Olympics preparedness and other matters,” he pledged. “I wish to end my statement by underscoring the government’s unwavering commitment to support the federation in preparing the national team for the Olympics and other activities.”

For his part, Luol Deng, the President of the SSBF, promised his readiness to lead the country to the Olympic Games.

“It is my goal to make South Sudan happy and the youth of South Sudan proud and change the narrative that we cannot achieve things. We cannot change the fact that we are number one in Africa and we are going to the Olympics,” he said. “Be happy, be thankful for what we have had in the last three years that might never come again. I know it is not easy to go to the Olympics and it is not easy to go to the World Cup.”

“We should be enjoying it and we should not allow external factors to take over,” Deng advised.   

In August, South Sudan was the only African country to qualify for next year’s Summer Olympics which will be held in Paris, France from 27 July to 11 August 2024.

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