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COVID-19: South Sudan lifts sports ban after six months

Last updated 1 month ago | By Xinhua

Sudanese refugees about to throw balls into a hoop during a basketball game in Cairo, Egypt September 24, 2018. REUTERS

South Sudan has okayed the resumption of sports activities in the country after six months of lockdown due to COVID-19 containment measures.

The order for resumption of sports was issued by Youth and Sport Minister Albino Bol over the weekend, local media reported Tuesday.

Sports activities were suspended across South Sudan in mid-March as a preventive measure against the novel coronavirus.

Alul Daniel, spokesperson for the South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) confirmed the lifting of the sports ban.

"We received a letter from the government officially allowing the SSFA to resume sporting activities in the country," Alul told Xinhua by phone in Juba.

Alul said the resumption of sports activities came at the right time when the east African country is preparing for November's 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification match against neighboring Uganda.

Alul said the lifting of the ban will enable the national soccer team enough time to train and assemble foreign based players.

"We will start with the national team training ahead of our friendly with Cameroon on October 10 and the AFCON qualifier with Uganda in November," Alul said.

The official, however, said there are no immediate plans to resume the country's domestic football league after its cancellation in May.

"We have given our local federations time to get prepared and resume football across the country on October 20, but we will only start with the South Sudan Cup for both women and men," Alul said.

South Sudan has confirmed 2,660 COVID-19 cases, 49 deaths and 1,438 recoveries as of Sept. 21.

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