The referee blew the final whistle as the sun set behind the cloud filled sky.
Playing on a dusty red football pitch surrounded by lush greenery in Wau in the Western Bahr el Ghazal region, a friendly match between Masharuch and Darfur ended in a one-one draw.
Colonel Reazur Rahman, the Bangladesh battalion commanding officer in Wau, said sporting events like this help keep young people away from criminal activity.
“Local people here, especially the young, love to watch and play football,” said Colonel Rahman. “We hope that one day they will play in bigger tournaments.”
Franco Abuna Anthona, a player from the Musharuch team, said sport brings people together and builds confidence and reconciliation between South Sudanese people.
“There is nothing that brings people together like sports,” he said.
Both teams received footballs and jerseys from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to use during games and practice.
“The visit and support by UNMISS has made us very happy,” said Adul Mahumud Mohamed from the Darfur team. “We will now come here regularly to train and hopefully more people will come to watch the games.”
On behalf of the teams, Mr. Anthona said that they appreciated efforts by the Mission and Bangladeshi peacekeepers for organizing the football match.
UNMISS Bangladeshi peacekeepers recently provided medical care for more than 300 local residents at a one-day “medical camping” facility.
Their veterinarian peacekeepers have also treated more than 600 animals as part of the contingent’s outreach programme.