The South Sudan Basketball Federation have released a statement regarding the injury that led to Serbia’s Borisa Simanic losing a kidney and have strongly condemned the racism aimed at Nuni Omot following the incident.
During South Sudan and Serbia’s game last week, Simanic received a blow from Omot and had to undergo two emergency surgeries in Manila and unfortunately, lost a kidney as a result.
In their statement, South Sudan acknowledged how accidental, as well as regrettable, the incident was and addressed the harassment their player has been receiving since.
“The South Sudan Basketball Federation was informed today of player Borisa Simanic’s injury and subsequent kidney removal as a result of an incident that occurred during last week’s World Cup match against Serbia,” the statement read.
“The incident involved contact between the Serbian player and South Sudan national men’s team player, Nuni Omot. Officials reviewed the incident immediately after it occurred, and no foul play was found by Omot. At the time, neither the federation nor the player were made aware of the severity of Simanic’s injury. The occurrence was unintentional and unfortunate.
“‘I am deeply saddened by the news of Simanic’s injuries. As a sportsman, I first hand understand the severity of his situation, and I am deeply sorry that this happened. No player should have to go through that. I pray for Simanic’s recovery and speedy return to the court’ – Nuni Omot.
“The federation would like to further address the racism and harassment endured by player Nuni Omot after news broke of this regrettable development. We condemn any sort of racism directed towards the player.
“Basketball is a sport that is recognized to bring people together rather than to be used as a tool of prejudice.
“Finally, we extend prayers and best wishes to Borisa Simanic.”
Serbia went on to win their quarterfinals matchup against Lithuania and will advance to semi-finals of the tournament.
Small forward Bojan Bogdanovic explained that Simanic reached out to the team before the game and that they wanted to get the win for him.
“He texted us, ‘Hey, guys, I’m alright. After two surgeries, I’m alright,” Bogdanovic said after the game. “I’m healthy. Just get the win. Don’t think about me and let’s win tonight.’
“It was a huge boost and huge energy tonight, so thanks to Boriša. This was also for him.”
It has been a fairly successful campaign for both Serbia and South Sudan so far.
Despite South Sudan’s national team being eliminated from World Cup title contention, they still secured a place in the 2024 Paris Olympics for the first time in the country’s history.