The South Sudan National Basketball team were beaten in their last group D encounter against Rwanda on Friday 19th February 2021 in the ongoing Afrobasket 2021 qualifiers in Tunisia.
On Friday, fans witnessed a very tight contest as the Rwandan Basketball team proved how mentaly, physically and tactfully they were prepared to face the Bright Stars of South Sudan although they were trailing the encounter with 19-18 points in the first quarter, however the second quarter ended in a 10-10 points draw.
However the Rwanda Basketball team gained momentum in the 3rd quarter registering a 6 points difference after putting 15 points past that of the Bright Stars 9., the team went on to squander the 4th quarter losing it 15-10 points to force the game into an overtime, where they scored 9 points more than South Sudan’s 5 to take the tally of 58-62 points which marked the end of the match with Rwanda picking it’s first and last win of the 2021 Afrobasket qualifiers, although they had qualified as host.
Speaking after the game, South Sudan head coach Luol Deng said his team showed the “hunger to win the game but the opponents were more hungry” for the win.
“We are disappointed, we wanted to finish the right way, he said. “We faced a team that was hungry, they lost some games and they came out more hungry than us.”
On whether the win against Mali could have affected the performance of his team, Deng said “it was a great game against Mali but Rwanda was a better team in the game.”
“Yesterday’s game was great, I thought we fought hard, I thought the guys were great and everybody wanted to play but today I thought Rwanda were more coached and wanted to win more than us,” added Deng.
Coach Deng further said the biggest challenge for his team lies ahead. This, he said, requires working and preparing hard for the August tournament in Rwanda.
Despite the loss, the South Sudan Bright Stars team has progressed through to the 2021 Afrobasket which will be hosted in Rwanda in August.
The Bright Stars registered one of the greatest comeback of the 2021 Afrobasket after scoring 15 points past Mali to beat the West African side in the last minutes of the fourth quarter in a very tight contest on Thursday 18th February 2021.
“We are proud of what we have done and we now just have to prepare for August and do our best.” says Luol Deng.
South Sudan finished second in group D ahead of African giants Nigeria after registering 3 wins and losing 3, the team also scored 397 points and conceded 397 with 9 points.