— Published 4 September 2023

South Sudan makes history

Great story. South Sudan, the newest nation on the planet, has earned its ticket to the men’s basketball tournament at the Paris 2024 Games. Ranked 62nd in the world by FIBA, the national team secured its place at the World Cup, currently being held in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, by being the best-placed of the African nations. According to FIBA statistics, South Sudan is also the lowest-ranked team to qualify for a men’s Olympic tournament since the Athens Games in 2004. The Sudanese secured their place at the Paris 2024 Games by dominating eleven-time African champions Angola (101-78). Sudan, which has been independent since 2011, made its Olympic debut at London 2012, sending its first athlete, but competed under the Olympic flag. Four years later, at Rio 2016, its delegation included three athletes, present for the first time under the national colors and flag. Two others took part in the Tokyo 2020 Games. Since 2019, the South Sudanese Basketball Federation has been chaired by Luol Deng, a former NBA player who played for the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. According to the Sudanese-born, British-raised player, the country does not currently have a single regulation-sized basketball court.