Federation of Uganda Basketball Association is in a fix after National Council of Sports has failed to fund their upcoming National team engagements.
FUBA is racing against time as the Men’s and Women’s teams are set to take part in the Afrobasket Qualifiers.
The Silverbacks have Afrobasket Qualifiers in Morocco due July 8 while the Gazelles have Women’s Afrobasket Zone five qualifiers due July 12-17.
“Our challenges are financial. We have not received a single coin from NCS having submitted our budget. And of last evening, we have not received any communication,” FUBA boss Nasser Sserunjogi said in a radio interview with Sanyu FM.
“At the moment, we are planning to travel but one wonders where are we going to get the tickets, accommodation and feeding.”
Per NCS General Secretary Bernard Ogwel, each Federation is receiving just Sh28m for the whole year, except FUFA (football). Meaning, each quarter, a Federation recieves Sh7m!
Nasser added: “How do you run a national team on such a budget. NCS should just tell us to focus on other things. What can Sh7m do for you in a quarter?”
Ogwel confirmed receiving FUBA plea, but added that there are challenges they are facing as NCS as at the moment.
Ogwel explained in details: “Sports budget has not changed. In the next financial year that starts next month, our budget will be Sh18,368,214,000. We also have ring-fenced budgets because FUFA takes 10bn of that. And you also know that NCS wage is 1.6bn for annually and its the lowest in the entire sector in the ministry of Education and Sports.
“Then there is Olympics, Commonwealth, All Africa games yet the budget collapsed by 2bn. The other 50 federations, there allocation is 1.3bn. Each to share Sh28m. Which every quarter we give out Sh7m.
“When NCS was guided, we came out with priority sports which is athletics, football, netball, boxing, basketball, olympics and rugby. The rest of the feds remained with 2.1bn to share.
“Unfortunately, at the beginning of this year, we got a budget cut of Sh8bn, and the issue of priority sports collapsed to zero. What remained is that we had to put back the 50 federations to share the 1.4bn.
Ogwel also confirmed that Ministry of Finance planning and economic development, issued an instruction to ensure FUFA (football) budget of Sh10 is available and ring fenced.
On the issue of Basketball, he confirmed: “I received a letter from FUBA President on June 2. Remember this is the last month of the quarter of Government in the financial year. The demand of FUBA is 361212 dollars which is Sh1.2bn.
“From a realistic position, this does not add up. There is Under-16, Silverbacks in July and Gazelles as well.
Remember NCS priotirised basketball on top of other federations last time out. Fuba consumed about 50% of the recent government interventions. And other federations were on our neck asking why we used all government funds to one federation. Remember we funded the first trip and the games did not take place due to Covid19 in their camp meaning that we lost that money clean.”
“We are demanding for more money from Government, the issue of basketball at hand is a challenge. In the previous quarters, we had to convice council to prioritise Basketball, they (FUBA) have been a big beneficiary of this financial year of funding of government through Council. 50% of funds went to them and they should first be gratefully. The issue is beyond us as Council, we are just provided with guidelines in the distribution of the funds and we look at so many priorities to make issues happen. 362000 dollars which FUBA wants for those three campaigns, definitely, look at the resource envelope, I do not see where that money can come from because at the moment, I am only expecting 300m from the remaining balance of this quarter. If that money is availed to me on Monday or Tuesday, its not even half of what these people want.”
“Government will not at this point allow any National team to travel out of this country without clearance from NCS, Confirmation of adequate funding for the activities meant in the circumstance will need special clearance from leader of govt business for a national team to travel.”
The Gazelles did not start their training on Friday last week as expected and Sserunjogi hinted that the team will enter residential camp about two weeks to the date they are supposed to travel to Kigali.
The Men’s team want to camp in Egypt before moving to face Morocco. If they fail to beat Morocco, they will have to face Cape Verde for the last chance to qualify for Afrobasket.
Sserunjogi adds: “We have our close contacts. We have companies that usually give us tickets on credit, then when we get money we pay afterwards. We have agents who can organise us a camp in Cairo on credit, but for how long are we going to be doing that? Its absurd to be a federation president in this country. I call upon the corporate world and bodies to come to our rescue.”