By John Agok
Residents of Juba showed up in droves last weekend to watch the first matches of South Sudan’s newly-formed Women’s National Football League.
Hundreds of men, women, and children fans watched as Kuajok and Bentiu Women team squared off in the first match of the league on Saturday at Juba’s Buluk playground.
Francis Amin, President of the South Sudan Football Association called Saturday a historic day.
“We have registered the first-ever women’s South Sudan league, which is recognized in the system by FIFA. We have made it, and congratulations to all teams! We have started the beginning with the training of the coaches, administration, and now we have kicked-off with the league,” told media.
Adhor Ring the Kuajok Women team coach told Juba Monitor that, they are still optimistic to win more games ahead of the league despite. He said, this is just the beginning of the league and the girls will still put more efforts on their next game.
The Bentiu Women beat the Kuajok Women 2-0 in the inaugural game, with Suzi Nyaliu jerseyNo: 17 scoring the first goal and EmmanuelaNyalou jersey no: 7 scoring the second in the 70th minute of the second half.
In the second round of games Sunday, Bentiu United beat the Kuajok Women 1-0, the Yei Joint Stars trounced the Yambio Women 3-0in Yambio, and the host Torit Women thrashed the Wau Women 8-0. Torit tops the table on goal difference after the first round; Yei is in second place, and the Wau Women are at the bottom of the table.
Ugandan national Jean Sseninde, a women’s football consultant for the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has been hired by the South Sudan Football Association to provide technical guidance. Sseninde, says launching the league gives hope to many young women across South Sudan and for women’s football in the entire East African region.
South Sudan’s culture, youth and sports minister Dr. Albino Bol, said the women’s league is important because it encourages South Sudanese from different communities to interact with each other and find common ground.
“Peace cannot be achieved if we are not socializing among ourselves. Socialization among our tribes through peaceful coexistence is what will bring peace and sport is one of the social activities that can bring peace to the nation in a very simple way, so I want to thank FIFA, CAF and the football association of South Sudan under the leadership of Francis Amin for coming up with this great event,” he said.
Eight football clubs make up the Women’s League: the Juba Super stars, the Yei Joint Stars, the Yambio Women FC, the Aweil Women, Kuajok Women, the Wau Women, the Torit Women and Bentiu United.