Al Hillal plays on in Sudan despite war

Al Hilal, Sudan’s most successful football club, is continuing to play to provide a “distraction” for people at home during the civil war that has torn the country apart

“We are playing during this very sad moment to distract our people from the war,” club secretary-general Dr Hassan Ali told BBC Sport Africa

 “It is a moral responsibility … to keep their morale high.”

The conflict has displaced millions and caused widespread devastation. 

Sudan’s domestic league has been suspended, but Al Hilal has secured a deal to play in Tanzania’s top league starting in August. 

While Al Hilal will not compete for the Tanzanian league title, their inclusion has been welcomed by local clubs. 

The move will also help Al Hilal retain players for next season’s African Champions League.

The war has forced many Sudanese footballers to seek opportunities abroad. 

Neighbouring Libya, whose own civil war recently ended, has seen an influx of Sudanese players. 

Forward John Mano, on loan at Libyan club Al Sadaqa, highlights the difficult situation.

“We need psychological comfort. There is some support but we must be here so our families can eat,” he said.

While the move abroad offers some relief, the impact of the war on Sudanese football is severe. 

Many clubs have been forced to release players due to financial constraints. 

Analyst Abdul Musa believes rebuilding domestic football will be a slow process after the war eventually ends. 

“The war has set us back a long way. A lot of work will be needed,” he said. 

“The main thing, obviously, is for the war to stop.”

Compiled by staff writer

Pictured above: Al Hilal. 

Image source: X

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