27 Jul
    10 Aug 2024

    Qualified Team Focus - South Sudan: What do the Bright Stars have for an encore?

    MIES (Switzerland) - South Sudan made history in their first appearance on the global stage at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 and qualified directly for the 2024 Olympics. Now they look for an encore.

    MIES (Switzerland) - The draw for the Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament Paris 2024 was held on March 19. It is now time to meet the teams that have already qualified for the Olympics with the dream of becoming Olympic champions this summer.

    Here is the number 33 team in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike, the Olympic debutants South Sudan. FIBA's youngest nation will look to capture the imagination of basketball fans as they play in the Olympics for the first time.

    How they qualified


    South Sudan were ready to make history as they made their FIBA flagship event debut at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. That came just six years after their first official FIBA game. The Africans showed that they were up for the challenge in their first game in the Philippines, going to overtime before losing to Puerto Rico 101-96.

    They celebrated their historic first-ever World Cup win just two days later after running away for an 89-69 victory over China. South Sudan were shown a different level in their final First Round game with a 115-83 loss at the hands of Serbia.

    The Bright Stars moved to the 17-32 Classification and started the Group M with an 87-68 victory over hosts Philippines. They did their part to make more history as they finished the World Cup with a convincing 101-78 victory over Angola, but South Sudan and their supporters were forced to wait to truly celebrate. Only after New Zealand beat Egypt in another 17-32 Classification group was it official that South Sudan had locked up a direct berth in the Paris Olympics.

    South Sudan finished 17th in their World Cup debut and qualified directly for the 2024 Olympics because they were the African team that placed highest in the tournament.

    Record at the Olympics

    The celebrations were wild after South Sudan locked up their first-ever Olympics berth

    Appearances: 0
    Medals: 0

    Last appearance

    South Sudan basketball federation president Luol Deng played at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain

    South Sudan are the basketball world's youngest country, only joining FIBA in 2013 and having their first official game in March 2017. Just six years later, South Sudan appeared at their first FIBA Basketball World Cup last summer and also made history by qualifying for their first Olympics. The next part of the magical journey will start in Paris this summer.

    The Group Phase


    The opponents for South Sudan's historic first game in the Olympics is still unknown as they will start Group C action against the winner of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico, which will be played from July 2-7. The six teams in that event are Bahrain, Côte d'Ivoire, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

    The Africans will be thrilled for their second game as they take on the superstars of USA. South Sudan finish their group play against another world superpower in Serbia, and the Bright Stars will be looking for a better showing than their 32-point loss at the World Cup.

    South Sudan Group Phase games

    vs Winner OQT Puerto Rico (July 28)
    vs USA (July 31)
    vs Serbia (August 3) 

    Players to watch


    Carlik Jones was South Sudan's true floor general at the World Cup, ranking eighth in scoring at 20.4 points and topping the event with 10.6 assists per game. Jones tied the legendary  Toni Kukoc as only the second player with 10 or more assists in three games of a single World Cup.

    Nuni Omot

    Nuni Omot was a second of five players who averaged double figures scoring at the World Cup while shooting nearly 53 percent from long range. Marial Shayok also flashed his outside shooting prowess. Majok Deng and Wenyen Gabriel are two strong options at the power forward spot.

    Other names of note on the team's long list of 50 players for the Olympics are Kuany Kuany, former Australia internationals Thon Maker and Mangok Mathiang as well as Aher Uguak, Makur Maker and Emmanuel Akot.

    The team also will likely include Phoenix Suns center Bol Bol, who is the son of former NBA legend Manute Bol; as well as the 17-year-old star talent Khaman Malauch, who is headed to Duke University. Another future talent is 2007-born Paul Ater Bol, who plays at BAXI Manresa in Spain.



    Qualified Team Focus series

    During coming weeks and months, we will continue to check out all teams aiming for a medal at Paris 2024 as part of our Qualified Team Focus series. Check out the first installment: USA, Germany, Serbia, Australia, Canada, France and Japan.


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