By Simon Abaho
It is commonplace in Ugandan sport for national teams to have limited funding when preparing for international events.
As the men’s national basketball team heads to Kigali for the FIBA AfroBasket 2021, the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA) is going through a situation that has become a habit in Ugandan sport.
According to a press release from the federation, the budget for the campaign is short of three hundred and sixty million shillings.
Statement From FUBA
The Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations – FUBA would like to thank the Government of Uganda through NCS for the continuous support towards the development of basketball in Uganda and in particular for supporting this Afrobasket campaign.
We would like to categorically state that the Governemt of Uganda, through NCS supported our National team for the first window of this campaign in Alexandria (Egypt) in November 2020. In February 2021, during the second window in Monastir (Tunisia), the Government again through NCS fully supported our National team. However, the team was not able to play its games in Monastir because our camp was hit with Covid19, which resulted into the suspension of our games by FIBA.
FIBA then gave us another chance to play against Morocco and Cape Verde on July 8th and 15th respectively and the same was communicated to NCS. However, at the time of travel to Morocco, we were informed by NCS that there was no money to further support our qualifying campaign. Because we could not afford to pull out of the tournement after investing all that time, effort, and money, with only one win away from qualification, we made a decision as management and informed NCS that we were going to borrow money and take the team to Morocco, which money we expected NCS to reimburse upon return.
After beating Morocco in Rabat 77-65, we automatically qualified for Afrobasket 2021. Upon return, we informed NCS about our qualification and further informed them about the need for financial support for the final and the reimbursement of the Morocco expenses. We then presented detailed accountability of all expenses with receipts and invoices for the Morocco trip to NCS and requested for a reimbursement.
We also presented our proposed budget for the Afrobasket finals in Kigali which included a two-week training camp in Egypt. We were informed by NCS that there was no money to support the team.
Upon further plea to NCS, on the 16th day of August 2021, the Government of Uganda through NCS gave us Ugx 340m apparently for the Afrobasket finals. The money borrowed for the Morocco trip was not settled. As management, we were in dilemma as to what to do under the circumstances. We had a debt that was accumulating interest every month and at the same time, we were running out of time to take the team to Kigali. We made a business decision to pay the debt and actually paid USD 96000 out of the required USD 100,000.
After that, because of our good reputation, we got tickets on credit for the entire team to make sure that the team at least travels to Kigali to beat the 7 days quarantine regulation for people traveling from Uganda, as we sort out other issues of the money.
As we stand now, we need UGX 36O, OOO, OOO (Uganda Shillings Three Hundred and Sixty Million Only) to cater for all our expenses in Kigali and also pay the remain balance of the borrowed money.
Meanwhile, the home-based Silverbacks left the country for Kigali via Nairobi earlier today for the tournament that starts next week.
The foreign-based legion including the head coach will join the team in Kigali.
Players: Jimmy Enabu (City Oilers), Tonny Drilleba (City Oilers), Ben Komakech (City Oilers), Titus Odeke Lual (UCU Canons), James Okello (City Oilers)
Officials: Mande Juruni (Coach), Andrew Tendo (Assistant Coach), Grace Kwizera (Team Manager), Albert Ahabwe (Assistant Team Manager), Mark Ssali (Government Representative), Isa Mapengo (Video/Photography), Brian Tuka (Media), Emanzi Ndyamuhaki (Media).
Uganda’s Group Fixtures (EAT)
- Wednesday, 25th August: Senegal vs. Uganda – 7:00pm
- Friday, 27th August: Uganda vs. Cameroon – 1:00pm
- Sunday, 29th August: South Sudan vs. Uganda – 7:00pm
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