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Unity state approves funds for students to compete in national football competition

By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

March 20, 2013 (KAMPALA) - Unity state has approved 121,000 South Sudanese pounds (SSP) to allow secondary students to participate in May’s South Sudan National Football Federation school tournament in Wau.

South Sudan is trying to improve sports activity in the young nation by introducing a new curriculum for physical education in schools.

The national schools competition was supposed to take place in Malakal in April, but was postponed due to a lack of suitable football pitches.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune after addressing the Unity state cabinet earlier this week, Joseph Arop Malual, the minister of Information and communication, said the funds had been approved to encourage youth to improve their sporting skills.

Following South Sudan’s poor performances at last year’s East Africa football competition, the authorities are trying to regain momentum by creating internal school tournaments to prepare the next generation of footballers.

Unity state’s deputy governor, Michael Chiengjiek Geay, says the coming together of South Sudanese youths will promote professionalism and sporting activities in the new nation.

As it is a national event, it is important for
He encouraged Unity state’s school students to take part in the national tournament, adding that the annual event will cement South Sudan’s national unity and help the “nation building” process.

Cattle rustling and other violence has hampered relations between many of South Sudan’s 10 states. However, Geay said that through sports, youth across the 20-month-year-old nation can carry a peaceful message to their communities and discourage the backward practice of cross-border cattle raiding.

“We will also educate the youth from creating things that will not [be] beneficial for the society, among them is cattle raiding. We want to discourage the cattle rustling among the youth so that they have to go for education and other activities rather than going for cattle raiding and killing themselves”, the deputy governor said on Tuesday.

The development of South Sudanese sport is a challenge due to the lack of good facilities and qualified coaches to train young people.

Authorities in Unity state say they plan to work with oil companies operating in the area, as well as NGOs in order to support sports in schools.

(ST)