For the last five years, South Sudan has been
ravaged by a brutal civil war. It has left thousands dead and millions displaced, many
of whom have fled to neighbouring Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.
For those who remain, there is constant fear of conflict, of being caught up in the fighting
between the many opposing factions. The war began in 2013, two years after South
Sudan became the world’s newest independent nation after breaking away from Sudan. Disputes
with Sudan over oil escalated and led to clashes between the government and rebel groups.
Five years of fighting has taken its toll: as of late July, according to CNN, the youth
unemployment rate in South Sudan was at 38.6%. In a country with a median age of 18.1 years,
it means poverty, crime and delinquency. For young people, life is hard: there are
very few job prospects and many children have been separated from their families, left to
fend for themselves. That is where the Upper Nile football academy
comes in, set up in 2016 to provide a place for displaced youths, and to offer some hope,
some direction for those in a seemingly hopeless situation.
Based in the small, dusty town of Rubkona, in the north of South Sudan, the academy gives
children from the ages of four to 18 a chance to play football. They are split into age
groups, and take part in regular training sessions, matches and tournaments. But, most
importantly, the academy, which is part of a United Nations Protection of Civilians site,
gives them somewhere to belong. “Sport is the only tool left to unite people
in South Sudan,” Lat Tungwar Kueiguong, the co-founder of the Upper Nile academy,
told Tifo. “It is the only way to get back to normal and bring everlasting peace in the
country. “Sport, if well-organised, is a proven remedy
for delinquency and waywardness. On the other hand, failing to harness this energy for the
good of society can lead to it being used in anti-social behavior like crime and alcohol
abuse.” The aim, for Kueiguong and his colleagues,
is to “create a conducive environment for young children to grow and leave a mark in
the world. Without the Upper Nile academy, many of the
youngsters involved would be out on the streets, homeless and addicted to drugs. Instead, football
has given them a purpose, and the hope now is that more and more children are inspired
to join. “I’m glad these boys are becoming role models
to others their age,” said Kueiguong. “They are going to influence other good talent to
join them in the Academy which makes a huge impact, and it’s what motivates me most.”
Amongst the most talented players at the academy is 14-year-old Tot Meh Doh, nicknamed Antoine
Griezmann by his peers. The teenager, like thousands of others his age in South Sudan,
was aimless before he arrived at a training session one evening and impressed the Upper
Nile coaches with his freestyling. “Within one month of training with the rest
of the team he was ranked as the best player at the academy,” said Kueiguong. “I’m
sure this guy will make it to the professional level. But the academy needs some help.”
For all of the good work done at Upper Nile, resources remain scarce. A lack of funding
and basic equipment makes even putting on training sessions difficult. And there has
been little progress made in achieving piece over the last few months.
But the academy will continue to make a difference, to spread hope in a country torn apart by
war. “These young kids are in the middle of displacement
and torn families, but they breathe togetherness,” reads the latest post on Upper Nile’s Facebook
page. “To all the coaches coordinating the games, we appreciate you all! Keep your head
up high young men. Everything will be okay one day.”

Football in South Sudan: The Upper Nile Academy

79 thoughts on “Football in South Sudan: The Upper Nile Academy

  • September 25, 2019 at 5:30 am
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    First

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:31 am
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    What a fantastic documentary

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:32 am
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    Why is there one comment that probably says First! but I cant see it?

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:35 am
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    This really makes you appreciate the world we live in.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:36 am
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    Another excellent video lads. You guys sure know how to find the best and most interesting stories that no one else is talking about in football. Thank you.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:37 am
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    My country!

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:37 am
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    Well, the world sucks

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:39 am
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    The Beautiful game

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:39 am
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    Is there any way to donate to them and help their cause?

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:39 am
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    Can you guys make a video about football in Malaysia next?

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:40 am
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    Source of hope!

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:43 am
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    I appreciate your effort for this documentary pal, I'm South Sudanese though I'm not leaving there now., I know there is a great talent in most kids, however, the lack of resources and opportunities limited their talent. Hopefully, the country crisis ends ASAP to encourage foreigners to look for those kids talent one day.🙏🙏

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:44 am
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    The thumbnail looked something out of GTA San Andreas

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:44 am
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    awsome video tifo, I hope 1 day you will also make a video on Pakistani football and how politics has ruined it…..

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:46 am
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    Be happy that you're not in this situation.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:50 am
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    gonna be great soon

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:50 am
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    How many of us are willing to support sports? Especially in developing countries.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:51 am
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    This video is great as I'm South Sudanese but i live in Australia.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:53 am
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    Don’t you just wonder how people get so many likes

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  • September 25, 2019 at 5:53 am
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    Thumbnail looks like its gonna be about football in GTA 4

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  • September 25, 2019 at 6:01 am
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    I’m not crying

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  • September 25, 2019 at 6:09 am
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    Another great vid lads, the only yt channel like this, you put clear effort into every vid

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 6:09 am
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    About 4 months ago, in the Leeds United vs Aston Villa game, Marcelo Bielsa made his players do something unbelievable that left their own fans with mouths opened wide. This week, he and his team won the FIFA Fair Play Award.

    …. You know what I'm talking about, Tifo. Thanks in advance for making a video about that incident.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 6:19 am
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    could you provide a link to donate? i feel like this is a good opportunity to do so

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  • September 25, 2019 at 6:20 am
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    An example how sports can actually impact the society in its dire state. People who generally look down on sports as some unimportant past time doesn't realize how lucky they are, that they aren't in these situations.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 6:22 am
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    Damn, the ending hit me right down. Another excellent video, KUDOS

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  • September 25, 2019 at 6:38 am
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    If this project is backed by the UN then why is it financially struggling? Why aren’t the UN helping if it’s listed as one of there projects?

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  • September 25, 2019 at 6:57 am
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    This is the country from where Qatar's Asian Cup success came. YKWIM😜

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  • September 25, 2019 at 7:15 am
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    The thumbnail is worth a thousand words. Football will never grow there. Just thugs fighting

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  • September 25, 2019 at 7:17 am
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    Tifo, could you guys maybe make a video or a series of videos about football in Southeast Asia?
    That would be very interesting!

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  • September 25, 2019 at 7:24 am
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    Great video

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  • September 25, 2019 at 7:41 am
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    I hope there will be dozens of success stories to come out of the upper Nile academy. I cannot think of a more worthy academy to support and root for.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 7:51 am
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    Should have included a link to donate

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  • September 25, 2019 at 7:54 am
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    Next vedio Somalia football plz

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  • September 25, 2019 at 8:02 am
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    i think basketball is a way better for S.Sudanese than football

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  • September 25, 2019 at 8:04 am
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    Excellent how you're willing to discuss African Academies. Especially a relative unknown country like South Sudan so with that said I now feel confident to ask, are you willing to make a video on the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana or FC Bescola (Barcelona's Academy in Nigeria)?

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 8:09 am
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    Great piece, on what is a saddening situation. Kudos

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  • September 25, 2019 at 8:12 am
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    Can you send a link where we can donate

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  • September 25, 2019 at 8:14 am
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    do a feature on the league of Ireland currently a one horse race

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  • September 25, 2019 at 8:15 am
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    Good

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  • September 25, 2019 at 8:32 am
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    Great video! Does someone has the Facebook page of this academy, I couldn't find it myself?

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  • September 25, 2019 at 9:20 am
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    U guys always manage to tell me new information about the beautiful game and send chills down my spine with that beautiful commentary

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 10:21 am
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    "Everything will be okay… One day."

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 10:50 am
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    This channel and the podcast has went massively to shit since the athletic sponsored it

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 10:59 am
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    narrator’s voice makes the video 10x better

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  • September 25, 2019 at 11:13 am
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    Finally a tifo video of our brothers in south sudan
    Sudanese🇸🇩

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  • September 25, 2019 at 11:34 am
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    Good job folks, proud of you all !!!!

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  • September 25, 2019 at 11:40 am
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    Hi

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 11:48 am
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    Can you do a video on the Bahrain-Togo match fix/other match fixing scandals?

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm
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    I really like the diversity of topics always something new and educative not only football related but also in variety of knowledge areas.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm
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    They call it the beautiful game

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 1:04 pm
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    Thank you for providing me with this. You do the world a great service by highlighting real heroes.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 1:25 pm
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    Man can some just end the war already. I'm actually tired of hearing it might cause another World War when it's just a few countries against the terrorist. The terrorist aren't even part of a nation.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 1:35 pm
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    Can we donate?

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    More than just a game ❤️👏🏾

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 1:45 pm
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    Tifo is the best thing I have stumbled in2 on YouTube and I have been happy since Day 1 the guys are very diverse and cover almost everything in Football I appreciate the work put in into this clips the animation blows me away every time I watch a video I wish my fellow brothers from sudan 🇸🇩 all the best with their careers from me Andrew in South Africa 🇿🇦

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 1:48 pm
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    Could you please make a video on the new rb Salzburg team under Jesse marsch or a player profile on erling haaland braut.
    Keep the good work up as always👍

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  • September 25, 2019 at 1:56 pm
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    This seems like a good thing to donate to.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 2:49 pm
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    South Sudan produce a legendary player in NBA, Manute Bol. Today, they have few in the NBA including manute son, Bol Bol. I really excited you've covered the football side of the country.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 2:55 pm
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    This makes you appreciate Jurgen Klopp's words when he said "We should not forget what it was like when we had real problems. This bubble we live in is not the real world. I am sorry, but anything that happens on a football pitch is not a real problem. There should be a bigger purpose to this game than revenue and trophies, no? "

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 4:05 pm
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    Plz make a video on fc pripyat the club that was destroyed by Chernobyl di
    saster

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  • September 25, 2019 at 4:45 pm
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    Part of me wants to show this to big footballers that already have 120 cars and fancy Instagram dumb accounts. Maybe they'll wake up, and give 1% of their salary to help. It would change a lot.

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  • September 25, 2019 at 7:44 pm
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    Amazing story
    Sports can truly unite when applied well

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  • September 25, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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    Wow. Thanks guys!
    You are making the world a better place!

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 8:51 pm
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    There were two wars and not a full one 2013-15 and 16-18 there was an unofficial cease fire. But yeah its the same problems and in so little time between them i consider fair calling it a war despite not calling WWI and WWII a single war. I know this cuz i have a known associate at UN who's doing a peacekeeping mission over there now that its all over but tensions are still high

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 9:51 pm
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    Another amazing hard hitting video

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 9:52 pm
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    FIFA should be dipping their corrupt fingers in those billions of dollars they have laying around and paying for this!!

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 10:30 pm
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    Why are you getting your data from CNN???

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 11:05 pm
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    Why can Africa not succeed?

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  • September 26, 2019 at 12:05 am
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    Thank you for bringing awareness to this.

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  • September 26, 2019 at 1:37 am
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    Great video and informations, I really like the narrator.

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  • September 26, 2019 at 6:05 am
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    Everything will be okay one day.

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  • September 26, 2019 at 6:20 am
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    Very warm and fuzzy Tifo but if you’re going to start bringing in politics at least state the obvious. Sudan is forcing sharia on South Sudan and the christians are being persecuted and football will unite Sudanese when there are no christians left to play.

    Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 6:33 am
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    Personally, as a Sudanese man who was heartbroken about the secession of South Sudan and their spiral into a brutal civil war between 2 tribalist Mercenaries; Machar and Salva kier, I thank you for making this video. The quality is excellent as always with absolute objectivity.

    Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 7:07 am
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    I'm from neighboring Sudan and I had no idea about this academy. I wish there is something we can do for our south sudanese brothers. Great video as always.

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  • September 26, 2019 at 11:03 am
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    fuck africa

    Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    Please Tifo,
    Explain Brexit and also what's the Brexit deal/no-deal

    Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 2:03 pm
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    Wow that Facebook post really hit me

    Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 5:15 pm
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    Yes, the soccer academy will save that country.

    Reply

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