Gazelles Not Giving Up On Fading Afrobasket Dream

Uganda’s national women basketball team, the Gazelles, are ready to do whatever it takes to participate in the coming 2021 Afrobasket Zone Five Qualifiers.

Recently, the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association withdrew the Gazelles from taking part in the Qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda due July 12-17 2021.

FUBA, then, cited Financial constraints for the unfortunate decision.

The Gazelles. Usher Komugisha photo

The FUBA Women Commissioner has started a drive to solicit funds to facilitate the trip to Rwanda.

“We are urgently reaching out for support to have the Gazelles be represented at the tournament that will be held in Kigali, next door,” a statement seen by The-SportsNation reads in part.

“The budget for camp and competition is estimated to be at $25000. We kindly call up on well wishers to reach out to Hudson Ssegamwenge (Fuba VP) on 0782992782.”

The Committee has blamed Government and the Powers be for failing to provide funds for the Ladies.

Their male counterparts, the Silverbacks, had to dig deep into the pockets to go to Morocco for the Afrobasket Qualifiers.

“We would like to protest in the strongest terms possible marginalisation of women sport from accessing resources to represent the country,” the statement signed by Sandra Munduru (Commissioner for women), Natuhereza and Ali Mavita (Assistant coach) adds.

“When funding is cut and women teams are withdrawn from competitions like these, and especially where their male counterparts the silverbacks are supported in the equivalent of the same tournament, the message that is being sent out loud and clear is that Women sport is not a prioty despite displays of competence.”

The withdrawal of the Gazelles will affect the upcoming generation

Big Blow To Women Basketball!

Coach Nicholas Natuhereza says that if the girls miss out, it will be ‘very sad.’

“Our women do not have many games and the international competitions are also very limited, they do not have BAL for example. The Afrobasket is for their exposure and to inspire the girls behind them,” Natuhereza told The-SportsNation.

The Gazelles, if they miss out on the Afrobasket qualifiers, will miss this chance until the next four years!

Gazelles forward Zainah Lokwameri. Fuba photo

“We have a good number of women who are in the evening of their careers. You remember this team did not even get allowances for the Qualifiers which we hosted in 2019.”

With the Silverbacks in Morocco, Natuhereza says that its unfair for the Women because their championship was more cheaper yet its the same competition.

He adds: “Generally, we are going to lose on the momentum, the last time we were so close to qualify. We were actually just a quarter away. And I am very confident that if we go to Rwanda, we will surely qualify.”

Bcak then- the Gazelles team in 2014/15. Courtesy

The Gazelles won Zone Five in September 2014 at Lugogo and qualified to Afrobasket in Cameroon.

Gazelles small forward Claire Lamunu told The-SportsNation earlier: “We are disappointed that we can’t go to the tournament for sure. I felt we had a good chance to qualify for Afrobasket, but now we don’t have the opportunity to even do that. I hope we can go. I know the National Team management and FUBA have been doing their best to ensure that we go, so I would like to thank them. It’s just unfortunate.”

Gazelles Manager Vicky Ntale said: “Just know this was a tough decision that management made, if only we had support from the government. The only challenge was the tournamentswere all close to each other and even if both teams qualify, the tournaments are all in the same period big far apart from each other.”

Class – Flavia Oketcho and Claire Lamunu. Fuba photo



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