By OKELLO ALLAN
KAMPALA-SHIFTEMEDIA- A dark Ray of Hope hangs in balance for Uganda’s National Basket Ball Team, the Silverbacks regarding inadequate funding.
Though the team qualified for the FIBA AfroBasket scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda from August 24 to September 5, 2021, loan sharks are giving the management sleepless nights.
Apparently, according to Nasser Sserunjogi the President Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (FUBA), government has not released funds to support the team.
Sserunjogi said the team had to travel to Morocco on borrowed funds from loan sharks after they failed to secure funding from the National Council of Sports (NCS).
He said he had to borrow shs370m from money lenders to enable the team to travel to Egypt and Morocco for the qualifier matches.
Sserunjogi says much as the silverbacks has qualified, their presence in Kigali Rwanda hangs in balance unless funds are released.
“But most urgently is the money that the team borrowed to use while traveling to Morocco, the money lenders need it,” he said.
The budget cuts by government due to the Covid 19 pandemic is beginning to affect sports in the country.
Sports Minister Hamson Obua said government had chopped of shs8b out of the shs26b that was allocated to the National Council of Sports leaving it with only shs18bn.
He noted that as government continues to address Covid 19, funds that was meant for sports have been diverted to combat the pandemic. Obua however noted that discussions are on going to ensure funds are released for sports.
The men’s national basketball team, the Silverbacks qualified for the FIBA AfroBasket tournament after beating Morocco 77-65 on 8th July at the Salle El Bouazzaoui Arena in Sale.
The National Team that is now cash strapped will play against Cameroon, South Sudan, and Senegal all in Group D.
Uganda won two games and lost one in the first qualifying window in November 2020 (losing 96-77 to hosts Egypt and beating Morocco and Cape Verde 94-90 and 101-98 respectively) finishing second in Group E.
Uganda has competed at two editions of the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2014 in Russia and 2018 in the Philippines as well as the FIBA U-23 3×3 World Cup 2018 in Xian, China.
The Silverbacks also qualified twice for the FIBA AfroBasket tournaments in 2015 and 2017.
Uganda also made its debut at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket in 2015 in Cameroon.
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