UNEXPECTED ANNOUNCEMENT: The ‘giveaway’ by NCS to Pastor Mbonye’s Zoe Fellowship was a bitterly disappointing development for UCA that is currently bracing the Lady Cricket Cranes for the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier in July.
National Council of Sports (NCS) has always made it abundantly clear that it prides itself on developing, promoting and controlling sports in Uganda. Many of its purported beneficiaries, however, beg to differ.
Talk of NCS preventing those to whose care it is entrusted from rising beyond the basement floor has always been conducted in hushed voices.
That was until NCS wrote to Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) midweek with terrifying news that Lugogo Oval will be inaccessible “every…Tuesday for the next 24 months.”
It was the gloomiest scenario the cricket fraternity could have ever imagined. In a terse letter, NCS further said that “our client Zoe Fellowship Ministries” would use the cricket ground “for their prayer meetings.”
It was a bitterly disappointing development for UCA that is currently bracing the senior women’s team for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier (due at the start of July).
The men’s senior team also has a continental Twenty20 qualifier blipping on the radar. This coupled with the fact that cricket-playing surfaces are averse to undulations – sure to be carved by rapid movements during praise and worship sessions – made for an abjectly depressing situation and gloomy forecast. It’s hard to tell whether UCA officials expressed their displeasure in hushed voices after reading a letter that ended with NCS patronisingly “looking forward to your cooperation.”
If they did, it mattered precious little as other cricket stakeholders took to social media to sketch the enormity of the tragedy.
Not being funny
Former Cricket Cranes captain Davis Karashani joked thus: “We need De Gea to save Lugogo Cricket Oval.” Other people were in no mood for jokes.
A groundswell of opposition has since developed following the call to arms.
It, however, remains to be seen if the call to arms will achieve any tangible success.
NCS will argue – as it always does – that deficits occasioned by the pitiful budget government extends to it have prompted efforts for greater commercialism.
NCS top brass is in fact toying with a plan to evict sports federations whose offices squat on its sprawling land and erecting commercial properties.
Put simply, the overriding interest for NCS is to make ends meet.
The highest bidder takes it all. This was certainly the case when the senior women’s netball team - The She Cranes - was mercilessly shut out of training at the Lugogo Arena in the run-up to the 2015 Netball World Cup. The She Cranes had to make do with training in an outdoor facility at Mandela National Stadium oblivious to the fact they were going to play in an indoor arena.
No prizes for guessing who rolled out the red carpet when Uganda placed eighth in the tournament!
We live in interesting times!