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Sport for peace embraces unity among the youths

A player takes a penalty

By Wek Atak Kacjang

The Sport for Peace competition conducted by Active Citizen South Sudan in Juba is helping to bring young people together in a bid to embrace societal unity and peaceful existence.

A friendly match dubbed “let’s play for peace” between the South Sudan National Police Service football team and the youths of Mangateen in Juba, attracted roughly 15,000 South Sudanese to cherish for peace and unity during the event. 

The police team beat the civilian football club 5:4 on penalties and the match ended up in joy and ululations after both teams presented 6 men for the penalties’ shootout after full time.

Michael Biphal, the Executive Director of the Organization, said the activity was meant to foster positive collaboration between police and civilian youth so that they work together.

“It is not just a sport for fun. We wanted to cement the relationship through the activities like sports. It is something that creates a pathway for community policing in Juba city to keep peace in the neighborhoods,” he explained.

While happily expressing optimism over the played match, Mr. Biphal applauded the police and civilian teams for demonstrating a sense of unity and teamwork during the event. 

The director disclosed that he would continue to engage the communities and the police in order to work together as one family.

Maj. Gen. Anthony Lado Tombe, the Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Interior said such sporting activities were necessary to boost societal growth without a doubt.

“It is a good thing for us to play like this with the civilians and make the relationship between the police and citizens stronger. This is because police is part of the citizens, and to keep and protect the civilians requires working together,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Shengiti Both Diu, the Director of Sport in the Ministry of Interior said it was essential for the police and the community to work collectively towards forging a sustainable peace.

“It is taking us towards peace. For the people of Mangateen, it is something impactful that we need to embrace and work for it. We thank everyone for cheering with us. The win is for all of us,” he said in a closing remark.

Pia Philip Michael, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Peace-building urged the South Sudanese to join together and work for the welfare of society.

“This is the social-cohesion building where you bring young people together to know themselves and interact. It is also important that it happened here in Mangateen because most of the people are IDPs and they deserve to interact with people,” he said.

He encouraged the young generation to build themselves and work for the betterment of society.

“Something must bring people together and when people come together, great things happen. So, sports can bring people together from all walks of life and the people can know themselves,” Undersecretary Michael said. 

The government official added that if communities of Mangateen had feared the police, then they would now see them as members of the community and that they can work together. 

“They are going to become one community and that will grow because they will be looked at not only as a law enforcing agency but also a human social being who can interact, so this actually leads to sustainable peace in South Sudan,” Michael said.

According to Michael, it was high time for the young people to build themselves in a bid to build social cohesion, adding “Let someone build someone and this is how social cohesion is built.”

While he appreciates the Active Citizen South Sudan, the National South Sudanese organization, and the Ministry of Peacebuilding joined hands together, Mr. Michael appealed to Active Citizen to champion the program across the country so that the citizens get to know themselves.

The event themed “Hib Jeran” that literally translates “love your neighbour” was being supported by the German Cooperation, through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

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