EDITORIAL: We can’t afford to miss 2023 Basketball World Cup

EDITORIAL: We can’t afford to miss 2023 Basketball World Cup
Fans welcome the national basketball players at Juba International Airport. [Alex Bullen, The City Reviw]

On Wednesday, the South Sudan National Olympic Committee urged the government to comply with anti-doping rules to allow the country be admitted to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).​​

The committee warned that without structured doping mechanisms, any South Sudanese team or athletes stand to be disqualified from major competitions if the country fails to ratify the requirements of World Anti-Doping Agencies (WADA).​​

This concern comes at a time when South Sudan National Basketball is only a step away from qualifying for the FIBA World Cup 2023. It is only South Sudan and Guinea Bissau that are yet to comply with WADA and RADO (Regional Anti-Doping Agency).

The citizens have a very strong belief that the basketball team would lead the nation to the FIBA World Cup come 2013, but the issue of compliance with the anti-doping rules is much more important to keep them alive.

The government, through the ministry of youth and sport, needs to take the issue very seriously so as not to disappoint the nation. It is just a matter of sending the policy to the council of ministers, then the cabinet passes it to the parliament for ratification.  If the will is there, this process would not even take more than two months.

We have all witnessed how the basketball team’s performance at the ongoing Basketball World Cup 2023 qualifiers has raised the spirit of the nation. The citizens have become more united than ever when players landed in Juba last month. Several people turned up at the airport to receive them and they waited for more than 10 hours.

So, these millions of fans in the country cannot afford to miss watching the giants of Africa on their television—the Bright Stars basketball players at the World Cup in 2023.

In this regard, the institutions responsible, beginning with the ministry of youth and sports and the parliament, need to move fast to put in place necessary legislation. We have experienced how some international conventions have taken years in parliament and some, until now, have not been ratified. The government needs to start the process as soon as possible and complete it on time.

We need to avoid the scenario where the country may be barred from participation in the international game for not complying with anti-doping.

There are several talented young South Sudanese who need to demonstrate their skills but they cannot do so if they are not allowed to participate internationally.