In Summary
  • The issue: She Cranes
  • Our view: She Cranes qualified for the World Cup last year and we all knew that the event would be coming up this July. Shouldn’t we have known better?

All is not well with the World Cup-bound national women’s netball team – the She Cranes.
A team we have celebrated a lot over the past three years deserve better than they are getting currently.
Last week, the media was awash with stories about how training for the team that travels to England for the World Cup in July had been called off. The reasons for doing so were primarily two.

The first was the National Junior Boxing Championships held at the country’s only indoor facility at Lugogo. In addition, Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) confirmed that they lack money to conduct daily training sessions. Each day of training costs at least Shs900,000.

Who was in charge of providing the funds? National Council of Sports (NCS), the government agency in charge of sports in Uganda. In his defence, the NCS acting general secretary, Dr Patrick Bernard Ogwel, said his organisation hasn’t received their quarterly subvention from government.

This only underlines the inadequacy in the planning process. She Cranes qualified for the World Cup last year and we all knew that the event would be coming up this July. Shouldn’t we have known better? Yes, UNF is one of the six federations that receive direct budget support from NCS on a quarterly basis. Their cut is Shs375m.

According to NCS, corroborated by UNF, this has been done for the July-September, October-December and January-March quarters. What is due to UNF is the sum they are entitled to for April-June to end the 2018/19 financial year. Even then, Shs375m is not enough to prepare sufficiently for the World Cup, which comes in the first quarter of the Financial Year 2019/20.

Surely, government and NCS should have planned better since this is not an emergency. It is something we all knew was coming. Similarly, the same story is bound to emerge soon when the national football team, the Uganda Cranes, head to Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations next month.
There is almost bound to be cries of inadequate funding, lack of training facilities et al.

Like netball, football is one of the six priority sports. Their sum is in excess of Shs1.2 billion every three months. By now, we should already know what is going to happen with the Uganda Cranes before the Nations Cup, Africa’s most prestigious football tournament.
If we end up like where we are with the netball, it will emphasise our lack of planning and the need for better foresight.

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