South Sudan women’s basketball team – stars on the rise


SOUTH Sudan is still on a high after their senior men’s team qualified for their maiden African Basketball championship (AfroBasket) tournament, and the prospects of the women’s team replicating the same feat are looking greater and greater. 

President of the South Sudan basketball federation, and former National Basketball Association (NBA) All-star, Luol Deng has helped provide the world a glimpse of what South Sudan as a basketball nation is capable of. 

Deng saw his senior men’s team qualify for the International Basketball Association (FIBA) AfroBasket tournament, scheduled for late-August 2021 in Rwanda, in their first time of asking.

And the best is yet to come.

“We are thrilled to announce that our senior women have been accepted by FIBA to compete in Zone 5 to qualify for AfroBasket 2021. The dates and venues are still to be confirmed which we will post when notified,” said Deng. 

The representation of the South Sudan Women’s team in the FIBA AfroBasket competition paints an idealistic picture of what could be in the future. 

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“Our goal from the start has always been to fully finance the women’s team in the same way as the men providing all the necessary resources to perform on and off the court which has not changed.” he continued.

Taking steps to realistically make this goal possible is one hurdle less on the journey to being the best team in Africa. 

“We are excited to have a women’s team for the first time to follow in the Men’s footsteps to try and advance to AfroBasket. The team will be given the same amount of funding and attention that the Men have received” said Deng.

The women’s team features an elite superstar, drafted to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 2016 Adut Bulgak. She hopes to help grow the team and elevate the team in the future. She is the one and only South Sudanese player in the most famous women’s basketball league in the world.

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The South Sudanese star Bulgak, currently pregnant with her first child, recognizes the impact and growth basketball has had on the young women of South Sudan “We have the potential to rival sides like Nigeria who are powerhouses.”

Bulgak, a collegiate standout with the Florida-State Seminoles “played against nearly the entire roster during my college career and even though they are talented, I would love to be able to match up with them in the near future as AfroBasket contenders.”

“We have a lot of young girls in the states playing ball so right now there’s the talent.” said the WNBA star. 

The South Sudanese basketball federation has played a massive role in overseeing and cultivating the excitement and energy the nation has for basketball.

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“A group of players have shown huge passion and support already by creating a GoFundMe and new Instagram account which the Federation endorses. Although we cannot not stop any future funding pages to help raise money for us, we strongly advise those who use the Federation’s identity must understand that their actions could lead to legal issues if the funding raised in the name of SSBF is not used in the manner it was intended to.

“It’s the Federation’s job and duty to do whatever it can to ensure our women are fully supported” Deng concluded.

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