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Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Story Of South Sudanese Boys Whose Survival Depends On Playing Basketball In Australia

By Stella WaAfrika




These Savannah Pride South Sudanese boys' survival depends on playing basketball in their new found home, Australia. The teenage boys are a club of Sudanese-Australians who refer to themselves as "Savannah Pride" which stands for 'pride of lions'.

This is one story of hope and inspiration. The young boys left their native land of South Sudan due to civil war; adapting to Australia as their home. Some of them are Lost Boys who learned basketball while at a refugee camp in Kenya, before seeking refuge in Australia (Lost Boys are Sudanese boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were displaced during the second Sudanese civil war). Some of them arrived in Australia as toddlers, along with thousands of other refugees who were forced to flee their homeland in fear for their life caused by civil war.

But like we all know, regardless of how severe the conditions people may experience, life must go on. And these young ones have done just that, focusing their time on sport through dedication and hard work, guided and mentored by their coaches.

According to New York Times, some of them have already started playing professional basketball for elite high school teams in America, including the University of Miami, the University of Florida, and the University of Texas.


More South Sudanese players in Australia have gone on to play basketball on scholarship for renowned US universities which also serves as inspiration to the young boys as they aspire to follow in the same footsteps.

Head coach of Blair Academy in Blairstown, Joe Mantegna says, "The Savannah Pride’s not put together to farm kids out to other places, but sometimes the kids get to be so accomplished, like Deng and Gorjok, that the next progression is either to play for their country or to go play at a higher level overseas,"

But it's not all rosy; with the good comes the bad. Like one of the problems being disappointment fueled by broken promises in addition to broken families. The coach further adds, "The problem with especially the South Sudanese kids who come from sometimes broken families; is these middlemen have at times put them in a situation that wasn’t the best situation for kids."

Source: New York Times

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