South Sudan overjoyed after historic debut win, "not done yet"
MANILA (Philippines) - South Sudan celebrated wildly after beating China for their first ever global victory, but the Africans insist their journey at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 is far from over.
Basketball's youngest nation showed they are ready for the moment by defeating 10-time World Cup participants China 89-69 in their debut World Cup.
"It's amazing to win. We feel blessed and honored to be a part of this, to be with my brothers. It's an amazing feeling. What we've gone through to get to this point ... people don't understand that this is inspirational. This is emotional. People may not fully understand the story behind it, behind what we've been through," said Nuni Omot, who scored 14 points in the historic win in Group B.
"I don't have words for this right now. I am still processing it. This is for the next generation. This is just the start. We have a long way to go," added Sunday Dech. "It means a lot. There are just 12 guys here, but there is a whole nation behind us. So we are representing the country and the next generations. It really means the whole world to us."
South Sudan became an official country on July 9, 2011 when it gained independence. FIBA welcomed the Bright Stars into the basketball family in December 2013. The basketball federation paid tribute to the country’s first NBA player Manute Bol by incorporating his likeness in the official logo.
Despite being new and having already made history, South Sudan insist they are not done yet. The Africans, who reached the Quarter-Finals of their first FIBA AfroBasket in 2021, have one final game in the First Round against Serbia.
"We're new to this, but I don't have any doubt in this team. We work extremely hard to get where we are. We have something we want to prove, and we want to keep proving it. We've been doing things to prove people wrong, and we'll keep doing it. Anything is possible, you know. I'm not gonna sit here and kneel down. They're a great team, but we'll see what happens," said Omot said about Serbia.
"We can enjoy tonight but we have to be locked in against Serbia," added Dech.
And Carlik Jones said: ""No. We are not done yet. I don't really want to get into talking about the next game because we won our first game. It's history. I just wanna enjoy the night."
First the celebrations for making history. Then they can look at more history.