Basketball: I will never work with suspended officials – Luol Deng

Basketball: I will never work with suspended officials – Luol Deng
Dr. Albino Bol Dhieu, National Minister of Youth and Sports (L) and Luol Deng the South Sudan Basketball Federation President in a previous meeting. [Photo: The City Review]

The President of South Sudanese Basketball Federation, Luol Deng, threatened to step down if the two suspended federation officials are reinstated.

In July 2022, Deng suspended Marier Anyuat, the federation’s Secretary-General and finance secretary, Deng Biar Deng.

Deng said that the two officials “made it very difficult for the office to work.”

“Somethings were being done without our knowledge,” Deng, who has since replaced the suspended officials, said in a press conference Wednesday.

Though the committee formed to investigate the conduct of the embattled officials is yet to table their report, Deng said that he will not accept to work with the duo even if they are found not guilty of any of the allegations levelled against them.

“Investigation are still ongoing [but] if they are reinstated then I will step down. I will never work with those individuals,” vowed Deng.

Anyuat and Biar were suspended just a day after the national basketball team returned from a trip to Rwanda that hosted the third round of FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers.
The investigative committee was supposed to hand over its report by July 25. They are yet to do so.

“I have been trying for the longest time to approach it in the right way but it is just not going well. And those individuals keep on giving misleading information in the name of the federation and make my communications with the local federation difficult.”

He added that “As president of the federation, I stepped in and wrote a letter for steps to be taken and the investigation to go forward.”

“But I stand by my statement before; I will never work with these two individuals and I will repeat it many times because I know my intentions and how important it is for us to go forward through working together,” Deng stated.

“If this is the case for them to be called back and work, I will step down and I will be very clear about that,” he added.

Deng accused the two officials of, among others, violation of the integrity of the game, insubordination and bringing the name of the country into disrepute.

According to him, the duo were working behind his back, adding that a secret communication with international bodies almost got South Sudan kicked out of the ongoing qualifiers.

 “By submitting a fraudulent document to FIBA requesting a full representation of SSD at the 2nd FIBA Africa Mid-Term General Assembly on March 31st 2022 without the knowledge or approval from the President of SSBF.”

It seems that the infightings and power wrangles started as early as 2020. Deng further revealed that his juniors, in October 2020 ignored his advice to have some of the team members, who had tested positive for Covid-19, be isolated in Nairobi.

“After some team members and delegation contracted COVID-19 virus on a trip to Cameroon, the president asked the SG to lead those who tested negative after the competition to travel and isolate in Kenya, (he) ignored the directive.

“The SG and FS decided without the knowledge of the president to approach and hire staff and national team coaches to influence the trajectory of the teams.

“They decided to directly communicate with the then potential lead players (of the South Sudan Women’s National Team) to falsely share that the president does not intend to support the women’s team.”

The president further claimed that at one point, Angui had threatened to dismiss’ Coach Lindsey Harding from her current post as the Head Coach of the South Sudan Women’s National team without his knowledge.