We Are Not Bad Players; We Just Need Time to Practice!

"President Kiir, on the other hand, is being called all kind of names, including a 'useful idiot' – a calculated term intended to drive him insane and demoralize both the country and supporters".

 By Willy Mayom Maker

If you randomly select people and put them in a team to play against other teams, the newly formed team will not perform well in the tournaments. This is because, even if they are the best players, the fact that they don’t know each other and haven't played together before may affect their performance. The team may lack competitive self-confidence in the game, so pressure from the game may cause them to be anxious or tighten up. Above all, there will be no team chemistry because the players don't know each other. Therefore, the team will be so disorganized in the field.

South Sudanese are in a similar situation. We are a collection of individuals from 64 tribes, who recently came together to form a team (country). Our team (country) is not performing well against the other teams (countries) which have been established for years.

Majority of our players (leaders/politicians) are still rookies. Some of them don't even know to play the game; others are just running around in the field not knowing their positions. Defenders are playing as midfielders and vice versa.

Even worse, some players are visibly exhausted and others haven't grasped the rules of the game, but they don't want to be substituted. If they are substituted, for example, they run away and abandon the team.

In one of his songs, a singer, named "Mafia One Dictionary", clearly stated the behavior of such players: "There are people blocking the path, but when they are told [to let others play], they roar nguaa! When substituted, they run away saying, ‘Kiir is bad...'"

While others are abandoning the team, the remaining players are frustrated and are fighting each other in the field. Team South Sudan is in disarray, and it is being booed, mocked or insulted by both supporters and spectators. "South Sudan is a failed state (team)," they said.

We can't control what other think or say say about us. It is their right to speak their mind. But we are not a 'failed state'; we are a newly formed state which has not grasped the rule of the game yet. If you ask any of these developed countries what they looked like shortly after creation, you will learn that they were just as messy as we are now or even worse.

Development takes time, patience and practice, lots of practices, to be competitive at the world level politically, socially and economically.

As time progresses, our country will improve. Eventually, the collection of 64 tribes will know each other, bond and even cooperate as a team with common goals. And just like experienced players, our leaders and politicians will gain strength, speed, agility, endurance, and mental toughness. Each member of the team will know his or her function or position: goalie, defender, wingers, or midfielder), meaning job positions will be distributed based on individual function or qualification.

But that is not all; arrogant players who think they can control the ball without passing it around will be advised that the only way to win is to pass the ball around. Eventually, Team South Sudan will be competitive.

It is also fair to day that what is keeping our team from bonding faster is the fact that the rival teams (Kenya, Uganda, Sudan Ethiopia, the UNMISS, Troika, you name it) are working day and night trying to break Team South Sudan apart. Because they know this is the only way they will keep winning.

They (rival teams) manipulate South Sudanese top players to abandon their main team and form their teams. Look how many teams we have now: SPLM (the main team), SPLM –IO, Real SPLM, G.10, National Salvation Front, you name it. The rivals' tactic of manipulating or sabotaging is working. As long as they continue to divide us, they will always be winning and and we are losing.

Now some of the key players (Dr. Alam Akol, Dr. Majak Agot, Rebecca Nyandeng, etc.), who have deserted the team before, have finally returned to Juba. Their return leaves me with mixed emotions though: optimism and pessimism. I don't know whether these players have finally realized they were misled by the rivals and that they have returned to help rebuild the original team. Or maybe the manipulators or saboteurs have intentionally sent them back with twisted mindsets to go and destroy the remaining members of the team. These players may not regain their positions in the team, even if they do, it may take sometime to bond with their teammates because they have been absent for too long. This is why I'm a little pessimistic!

To know how powerful and well-organized these saboteurs are, look at what they did to Dr. Riek Machar. He was quarantined for years (banned from playing or even attending a game); now they've finally released him and are monitoring every move he makes. President Kiir, on the other hand, is being called all kind of names, including a "useful idiot" – a calculated term intended to drive him insane and demoralize both the country and supporters.

Last but not least, other players such as Gen. Malong Awan, Gen Uyai Deng, Gen. Thomas Cirillo, etc. are still at the mercy of the saboteurs. Only God knows their fate. Take the power and influence these saboteurs have over over South Sudan for granted at your own risk!

The point I'm trying to make here is that a country cannot be expected to perform well right from the time it is created, especially when it is being directly or indirectly controlled by powerful countries for their interests. Development needs time and patience. We are individuals from 64 tribes who recently came together to form a country. With this diversity, it needs not only time and patience but also support and effort from the members to change from being a collection of tribes to a united South Sudanese with common goals.

Along the way, there will be setbacks and progresses. We have just experienced our first setback, which is why we are in such a mess now. But it is not the end of the world; we will regroup and progress towards our goals.

We should, therefore, pay no attention when they say, "South Sudan is a failed state" and all other negative craps. These are terms used as distractions so that they can loot your resources.

Failed state my foot! It took the USA 243 years to be where they are today, and yet they are not even that perfect. People are dying daily due to gun violence and the police brutalities.

Furthermore, if you go back in time to see what these so-called "developed countries" looked like right after formation, you will find that they were just as messy as we are today, or even worse than South Sudan.

We are not miracle-makers to create a country, develop and make it running smoothly in less than ten years! A good thing takes a while to build. It took God Almighty seven days to create heaven and earth, let alone us, South Sudanese, who have oppressed since the creation of the earth.

In conclusion, we, along with our leaders, are easily fooled by the adversaries because we are still new in the game of politics. But we will know how to play the game like them soon.

Also, we know that, in addition to being 64 different tribe, our population is also divided into three groups: (1) those who returned from the bush – the SPLA/M, (2) those who returned from abroad, the Diasporas, and (3) people who have not left South Sudan. With this diversity, we know we need not only time and patience, but also hard work and determination for members to leave their comfort zones and join others to form one South Sudanese identity...

 Part two is coming next week...

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