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New Year football aims to bring unity to Bentui

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By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

January 2, 2012 (BENTIU) - Patriot United FC beat Al-Merrekh on Sunday in Bentiu as part of troubled Unity state’s New Year’s celebrations in front of large crowd, under the theme “peace through sport”.

Unity state, which borders north Sudan, is home to South Sudan’s main oil fields as well as the new country’s most active rebel groups. Hundreds died in 2011 in clashes between rebels and the military.

Sport is seen as a way to unite the new nation and and create a patriotism that could help build a sense of national identity among South Sudan’s sometimes disparate ethnic groups.

Al-Merrekh scored first after 20 minutes but the Patriots replied before halftime. In the second half the aptly named Patriots scored twice more, making them 3-1 winners.

Patriot United FC was founded on 13 May 2009 by Daniel Ruac Koang and other South Sudanese in Unity State with a vision to” promote peace and unity among the youth both at home and neighborhood through talents in professional football”.

Koang told Sudan Tribune that their mission is to train young men who will play the game for themselves their people and land.

"Patriot United FC will fight tribalism and all kinds of discriminations through sporting activities" said Koang.

The New Year’s Day win, means the Patriots have qualified for the Unity state cup tournament for the third time.

Unity State director of sport, Peter Dang, urged the young people to maintain peace among themselves through involvement in sporting activities.

Dang praised both teams for taking part in the game, especially for the manner in which Al-Merrekh gracefully accepted their defeat.

Al-Merrekh coach Gatkeak Kuol Darow was philosophical, adding that someone always has to lose but vowed to prepare even harder and be better for next year.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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