South Sudan secures seat at continental Olympic body

South Sudan secures seat at continental Olympic body
Mandatory Credit: Photo by FRANCK ROBICHON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10592116x) The Olympic Rings monument in front of the Japan Olympic Committee headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, 24 March 2020. Later in the day, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to hold phone talks with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach of Germany regarding the possible postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to the coronavirus COVID19 pandemic. Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, Japan – 24 Mar 2020

South Sudan has advanced in regional recognition, placing it at a strategic seat at the Association of National Olympic of Africa (ANOCA) on May 1.

This was followed by the immediate announcement of US$175000 and US$100,000 by Olympic Africa and ANOCA respectively for the country to rebuild its underdeveloped sports infrastructure exacerbated by years of civil war.

Occupying a top position of treasury general at ANOCA, according to the incumbent South Sudan National Olympic Committee (SSNOC), will enable development of the country’s sport facility.

Dr. Tong Chor Malek, incumbent Secretary General of SSNOC, will represent South Sudan as a treasurer general of ANOCA Zone V, replacing Rashid Gulam of Tanzania, who lost to him in last week’s May 1 vote in Uganda.

“It’s a great honor to South Sudan to occupy this position,” said Dr. Chor. “The former executives did well, but there was no zonal game. Sports need competitions. We have talents in South Sudan, but they are not exposed.”

“South Sudan athletes are not exploited. We very good at volley ball, and we are even very good at football. Now our women football is there, they are not exposed. So we are trying to expose ourselves through these regional games,” added Dr. Chor.

He said the US$250, 000 will be used to construct SSNOC headquarters in the capital Juba as well as in developing sports facilities within the country.

This is the first time South Sudan, a country emerging out of a devastating conflict where its sports’ infrastructure was virtually destroyed or illegally occupied, to be considered for the position at ANOCA Zone V.

Though the expected construction of SSNOC headquarters, according to the Dr. Chor, would need more funding for its completion, South Sudan’s presence at such a strategic position as a treasury general in the regional Olympic body, stands a chance of placing the country on the world sport’s map.

Ethiopia’s Dr. Weldegiorgis Ashebir, the former Zone V’s deputy president took over from his boss William Fredrick Blick, a Ugandan who headed the body since 2017.

Components of ANOCA

ANOCA Zone V comprises eleven member countries of Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Burundi and Rwanda  

According to Eng. Juma Stephen Lugga, President of SSNOC, financial constraint has been one of the major hindrances to the development of sport facility in South Sudan as well as lack of land.

Mr. Lugga said they would ensure building complex sport facility in Gondokoro before South Sudan four years’ tenure of office with ANOCA Zone V ends in 2024.

“This will enable South Sudan to host regional games because it’s going to be a complex camping facility,” Eng. Lugga said in a press conference on Monday last week.

South Sudan’s only main stadium which has been under construction since 2019 is yet to be completed, which has led to a scramble over Buluk playground, jeopardising sports activities in the capital Juba due to limited infrastructure.