Eighth National Unity Day sports competition kicks off in Juba

Eighth National Unity Day sports competition kicks off in Juba

The government of South Sudan, in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), kicked off the eighth National Unity Day (NUD) sports competition in Juba on Sunday.

The Eighth National Unity Day will be the last NUD to be held under the support of JICA, which has been going on for eight years since 2016.

It aims at promoting peace and social cohesion through playing and interacting with other communities to promote peaceful coexistence in South Sudan.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Josepg Geng, Minister of Youth and Sports, said sports play a pivotal role in uniting communities in every country.

“Sports is a great way to be active as young people and also to have fun, to make friends and it teaches us to be united because in sports we interact with different people,” he said.  

He said sports help build peace when children from various communities play together and see unity when communities play together.

“Sports also appeal to the cultural, social and political that we may have. And that is why, when we come together to play, we always see unity.

 “So, sports is going to be our priority as a government and as a ministry because it has the potential and ability to unite us. That is why we have come to events like this to communicate our vision as a ministry,” he said.

He added, “We come together not only to play but also to build peace as our children have a unique talent as a country as young people. As we kick off this tournament, we would like to celebrate the special role played in our community.”

Tanaka Hiroyuki, the Chief Representative of JICA, noted that sports is one of the activities that unites people and helps people take part in social areas.

“Sports is a good platform that brings people together and provides people with opportunities to participate in social space,” he stated.

He appealed to South Sudanese people to ensure that positive interactions happen among themselves within 2024.

“As you all prepare to participate and make this day successful, I would like to request that we ensure that the objective and goal of NUD is achieved in this year as well. Let us make it all our responsibility to ensure that positive interactions are happening amongst us, and everyone is an agent during and after this event,” he stressed.

The eighth National Unity Day tournament, which commenced on January 28, 2024, will end on February 3, 2024.

284 young athletes from 10 states and three administrative areas will participate in a girls’ volleyball, football, and athletes’ competition for girls and boys.