Games and Sports In Southern Sudan

Many traditional and modern games and sports are popular in South Sudan, particularly wrestling and mock battles. The traditional sports were mainly played after the harvest seasons to celebrate the harvests and finish the farming seasons. The wrestlers were generally strong, well-trained young men. During the matches, they smeared themselves with ochre – perhaps to enhance the grip or heighten their perception. The matches attracted large numbers of spectators who sang, played drums and danced in support of their favourite wrestlers. Though these were perceived as competition, they were primarily for entertainment.

In the modern era, South Sudanese have excelled in international sports. Luol Deng is a basketball star with the Chicago Bulls in the National Basketball Association. Other leading international basketball players from South Sudan include Manute Bol, Ajou Deng, Kueth Duany, Deng Gai and Ater Majok. The South Sudan national basketball team played its first match against Uganda national basketball team on 10 July 2011 in Juba.

Association football is also becoming popular in South Sudan, and there are many initiatives by the Government of South Sudan and other partners to promote the sport and improve the level of play. One of these initiatives is South Sudan Youth Sports Association (SSYSA). SSYSA is already holding soccer clinics in Konyokonyo and Muniki areas of Juba in which young boys are coached. In recognition of these efforts with youth soccer, the country recently hosted the CECAFA youth soccer competitions. Barely a month earlier, It had  also hosted the larger East African Schools Sports tournaments.

The South Sudan national association football team was formed in May 2011, although it does not have membership of FIFA. The team played its first match against Tusker FC of the Kenyan Premier League on 10 July 2011 in Juba, scoring early but losing 1–3 to the more experienced team. According to Salih Samuel, the football team's coach, South Sudan is preparing to apply to join the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and CECAFA an association of East and Central African countries.