File By Dak Buoth,
May 4th, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- The South Sudanese soccer Tournament, organized by Naath football Association (NAFA) came to a successful closure yesterday at Safaricom National stadium, also known as the Homes of Heroes at Moi International sports center in the capital Nairobi. The league began in earnest last month on 13th April. Normally, the above mentioned body NAFA organizes three football tournaments each year especially in the months of April, August and December. For those who may be unaware of its background, this league came to prominent nearly 9 years ago; before this tournament was elevated to Safaricom International stadium it was played at Maithaa Githurai, Kimbo, Ruiru and Downholm sport grounds and city sports facilities.
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League’s Background and Mission
The biggest tournament of this kind was first played in the year 2009 at Nairobi community Area near Kenyatta hospital when Sudan was still one. It was first founded with the help of then Sudan Embassy in Nairobi with aim of mobilizing the youth to participated in 2011 Southern Sudan referendum which ultimately brought South Sudan independent to fruition in 2011.
Over the years, this league have played a pivotal role in nurturing young talents and help build social cohesion, friendly interaction and reconciliation among South Sudanese youth in the Kenya.
Only eleven (11) best teams showed up to participated this season. For those who saw it, It was a battle fought with shape talents and only the strongest teams with budding talented footballers made it to the final stages.
In every competition there is always a loser and winner. This time round, the Young Stars football club emerged the winner beating FC Unity by ‘3 goals to 1’. At the start of the game, Young stars’ forward Duol Doyak scored the first goal which sends hundreds of spectators at the stadium to a noisiest celebration. Not less than half an hour, Mr. De Ross Madut scored the second goal in the second half, followed by Paul Lomeja putting FC UNITY in panicking mood before the final whistle.
After a short while, FC UNITY players who were wearing red jerseys turned exactly red in the eyes, they dominated the ball possession for long period; as such, they pushed Young Stars to the half of the pitch. In seventies minutes, the FC UNITY’s left winger dribbled the ball inward heading to the goalpost; and when he reached a certain position near the touch line, he stopped and suddenly crossed the ball that was scored by their striker Mr. Makol Singo. This happened at the time when the clock was ticking toward eighties minutes. At that moment still Fc UNIY was making frequent advances and penetrations accompanied by countless corners. As result, young stars opted to retract; and decided to make a defensive wall far ahead of their goalkeeper.
Until the dying seconds of the match, Young stars continue to fence their goalpost and deliberately denied FC UNITY an equalizer. No extra time was added. Lastly, the referee threw his hands in the sky and blew the final whistle declaring Young stars at 2:20pm the winner of Naath Football tournament here at the home of Harambee Stars also known as the homes of Heroes.
Shortly after the final Game between Young stars versus FC UNITY finished successfully, the longtime champion Nile Boyz battled out with FC Jamus in the league third position. Undoubtedly, Nile Boyz thrashed Jamus FC by ‘3 goals To 1’.again. The veteran midfielder Chuol Bichok Gakak who once played for Nuer Boyz Football team in Turkana District netted the first goal that put the Niles’ crocodiles ahead of Jamus’ foot Soldiers.
Minutes before the Nile Boyz supporters holds their legs in dancing and before closing their mouths, another hunter from Jamus FC by the name Jonny Baboya didn’t wait the dust to settle, he unexpectedly thrown in an equalizer behind the net again putting the match into fresh encounter.
Unfortunately, Nile’s deadlocked mid-fielder in the person of Richardo RuotKoch aka Dean, who previously played for Thika United under 19 team, was making the game difficult and uncontrollable for the Jamus’ Soldiers. He was crisscrossing and stirring up the center, chasing the ball forward skillfully. He was making sure the opponents never step foot unto their territory, leave alone giving them space for goal attempt. Ruot Koch is currently playing for EL Merekh Fc in South Sudan. In the second half, the right winger in the person of Mario began dribbling inside excessively giving Mr. Both Gatwech and Agawa another chance to score again putting Nile ahead permanently until dying hour.
League losers promised tough return
Other teams such as Referendum football club, Super Stars FC and the likes were early relegated in a humiliating defeat at the quarter finals. Nonetheless, all the relegated teams vowed to return with a revenge mission comes next tournament in August 2016. In all the teams, majority were South Sudanese young footballers, the managing body NAFA advised each team to have at least three Kenya players in the team as a requirement for admission in the league. This is done to make the league look more inclusive, dynamic and enjoying because soccer is unifying business that brings people together from different backgrounds. Most players are young high school and college students drawn from various estates of the Nairobi city.
League Top goals Scorer
Ultimately, when the ceremony for issuing the trophies was convene inside the stadium, Ajak Bior for Haak United Football club was declared the top goals scorer in absentia with nine goals, Ajak was absence when his name was called amidst cheering crowd in colorful ceremony witnessed by several sport fanatics present, his coach Mr. Gattuor received the award on his behave. The second player awarded was Gatwich also known as my-Nigga from Kuay FC. Referees who officiated the tournament were awarded with a trophy, their gift was received on their behave by senior referee Gai Gat-buok, also known as Gai Ambuki and Del-piero as he was popularly before he hang his boots few years ago. On the coaching side, Gatwich Puoch emerged as the best footbal manager; and he was issued a gift at the ceremony.
Speech by NAFA Chairman and other Guests
Other players such as Kai Gatluok from referendum FC and Gatwich Malual were said to have played very well according to the official record of NAFA Secretary General Mr. Gatluok Tap.
In his remarks, the Secretary General Mr. Gatluok Tap who double as master of ceremony, he said without mincing any of his words that the tournament turned out the best though the board was faced with daunting challenges.
Mr. Duop Lony Riek, the Chairman of Naath Football Association, was highly praised by various speakers including this author as tested and able leader for nurturing young talents and for having South Sudanese football tournament played at the country leading football stadium for the first time since the league came into existence.
In his speech said, Mr. Duop encouraged the players to continue playing well, urging them that only the sky is limit. Out of all the teams that participated in the league, he said he had selected best players comprising of strikers, midfielders and goal keepers; that he will soon form a South Sudanese Football team in Kenya; he said by having a team comprising of the best players, it would be easy for them to be selected for national team of South Sudan among others promising pledges. Heartedly, Duop congratulated Mr. Madegwa the manager of Moi International sports center, he said by giving them an opportunity to play at the main stadium, that he has shown trust in us, and that he was great friend of South Sudanese.
The Naath Youth Network Chairman Mr. TutKuach who was the Special Guest at the event said he was very excited to see extraordinary talents in the youth of South Sudan. that he applauded the Stadium management for giving South Sudanese rare opportunity to play in the top sport stadium in the land. Mr. Tut said inter alia; that he would use his influence to lobby for support among South Sudanese leadership so that NAFA league can grow and achieve its objective.
On his part, Mr. Mandegwa, the manager of Stadium said, he felt excited to see great’s talents in the young nation, he urge the players to press on for it is not a walk on park. Mr.Mandegwa appreciated NAFA leadership; he added that peace can come to South Sudan through sports if the leadership in Juba can engage the youth in Sport activities like soccer. Mr. Mandegwa further said, he would provide training for South Sudanese referee free of charge; and that he has already selected more than ten young players, that he would take them to sport academy for free and sponsor their education free of charge. Every word he mentioned mean a lot to players. Mr. Mandegwa had previous worked at Sport Ministry in South Sudan.
Enjoy. To be continued
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