By Bida Elly David
Lual Deng foundation in collaboration with Stanbic bank and the NBA Africa on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding to support South Sudan junior NBA league.
The major aim of the memo was to improve South Sudan Basketball Association (SSBA) through the young generation who would exercise their skills to raise the Country’s name globally.
Speaking to the media during the signing ceremony on Thursday, Andrew Murugu the head of Stanbic bank in South Sudan said they have allocated an amount of one million Dollars ($1,000,000) for the execution of the project.
“We are so delighted with such occasion today where we witnessed the signing of the agreement between Stanbic bank and NBA Africa supported by our partner Lual Deng Foundation. This will be a three year contract in which Stanbic bank and the NBA will be supporting South Sudan basketball Junior league for players both boys and girls,” he said.
“We are taking junior players ranging from six to sixteen years old and really it’s a Country wide initiative to cover both boys and girls and it is going to be a three year contract which will start soon in Juba. Stanbic injected one Million United States dollars (1,000,000),” he noted.
Murugu commended South Sudanese for being competent and capable in defeating Egypt and Congo at the world cup Basketball qualifies with their good height and look.
“We thought it was a national sport for South Sudanese and a Country that will really indulge with skills. We have seen internationally even in the NBA that there were great legends like Manut Bol and Lual Deng who is around and as a nation, South Sudan in indulge in basketball players”
“For us as Stanbic bank, we thought this is the type of sports that we would like to build for national visibility since you have seen it coming through with South Sudan basketball Federation. You have the height and good players,” he said.
The Stanbic bank country manager stated that it took three years of strategies for them to reach the level of signing the contract through a series of talks and preparations.
“It has taken us almost three years to reach to this point. We have been having engagements with the Minister Albino and we always believe in South Sudan team and the people that they will be more success,” he said.
He said Stanbic bank received requests from other sports but due to multiple needs and demand, they decided to tentatively put much focus to one segment of sports before the others which the basketball.
Arek A. Deng, the chief Executive officer for Lual Deng Foundation appreciated the collaboration between Stanbic bank and the NBA Africa for having showed interest to fund junior NBA league in South Sudan.
“The junior NBA in South Sudan has been existing for years and has been a global event that really sees schools participate in organized sports for building young kids from very young age,” she said.
“As you have heard before in South Sudan we shall be doing junior NBA for under sixteen years old for the first and second year but junior NBA will be for under fourteen,” she added.
Arek said the final results of the league will determine the winning team to compete in Africa then subsequently to the international NBA tournament with countries globally.
“The beauty of this is that as Stanbic bank and the NBA are doing this involving South Sudan Ministry of Youth and Sports also allow us to grow a lot of things. Through this, we will have capacities, program managers, coaches and coaching clinics. We are also creating windows for professionals in the sport that can take us a long way,” she revealed.
She reiterated their efforts to ensure advocating for the training of the junior league for the prosperity of South Sudan’s basketball future.