FIBA Africa Region Executive Director Alphonse Bile applauds Deng’s giant step in South Sudan – FIBA ​​AfroBasket 2021

KIGALI (Rwanda) – FIBA ​​Africa Region Executive Director Alphonse Bile has praised the way former NBA star Luol Deng is dedicating himself to basketball in his native South Sudan.

Speaking to FIBA ​​media on the eve of the opening of FIBA ​​AfroBasket 2021 at Kigali Arena, the former Ivory Coast international player and coach noted that Deng’s work is going in the right direction for the youngest nation on the African continent to make their debut in Africa’s flagship tournament.

“I PERSONALLY WANT TO APPLAUD WHAT LUOL DENG IS DOING WITH BASKETBALL IN SOUTH SUDAN, ALTHOUGH HE IS STARTING TO BRING BASKETBALL TO LIFE FROM THE TOP.”-Alphonse Bile

Bile praised Deng for his efforts for his county and his undying love for the game.

“I personally want to applaud what Luol Deng is doing with basketball in South Sudan, although he is starting to bring basketball to life from above, which for me is a welcome development because it will result in younger players showing more interest in taking up a career in the game and seeing role models in some of the senior players,” Bile said.

South Sudan qualified for this year’s African Championship after finishing second in Group D of the Qualifiers behind former African champions Nigeria and ahead of Mali.

Since retiring from the NBA two years ago, Deng – who played for five NBA teams during a 15-year career – has served as president of the South Sudan Basketball Federation since 2019. Deng has served as the team’s head coach in the second round of Qualifying in February 2021.

Coach Luol Deng during the FIBA ​​AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers

Bile, former president of the Ivory Coast Basketball Federation, however, noted that national federations should have done more to attract some of their NBA players to this year’s AfroBasket as FIBA ​​Africa celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Although Senegal’s Gorgui Dieng is the only active NBA player in the tournament, there are a number of former NBA players in the Kigali showdown, including Cape Verde’s Walter Tavares, the Tunisian Salah Mejri and Ivory Coast Matt Costello while Ugandan Ishmail Wainright recently got his first NBA contract with the Toronto Raptors.

Bile recalled that NBA players bring more appeal to the competition.

FIBA

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