The National basketball team, the Silvebacks, has left for kigali Rwanda where they will take part in the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket amidst financial hardships from the federation.
The team of local based players and official left on Wednesday morning and will get into a mandatory quarantine expected to last seven days. The tournament is however set to commence on August 24.
That withholding, the foreign-based players are expected to join the team in Kigali and in coming days so as to make final preparations for the tournament.
The Silverbacks are in Group D and will have to negotiate passage ties against African basketball powerhouse Senegal, size threatening Cameroon and South Sudan who have a humongous advantage in terms of height.
Uganda start their campaign against Senegal on August 25 before facing Cameroon (August 27) and South Sudan (August 29) in that order.
FUBA President Nasser Sserunjogi Official Statement in part:
The Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations – FUBA – would like to thank the Government of Uganda through NCS for the continuous support towards the developmemt of basketball in Uganda and in particular for supporting this Afrobasket campaign.
We would like to categorically state that the Governemt of Uganda, through NCS supporter our National team for the first window of this campaign in Alexandria (Egypt) in November 2020. In February 2021, during the second window in Monastir (Tunisia) the Government again through NCS fully supported our National team. However the team was not able to play its games in Monastir because our camp was hit with Covid19, which resulted into the suspension of our games by FIBA.
FIBA then gave us another chance to play against Morocco and Cape Verde on July 8 and 15th respectively and the same was communicated to NCS. However, at the time of travel to Morocco, we were informed by NCS that there was no money to further support our qualifying campaign. Because we could not afford to pull out of the tournement after investing all that time, effort and money, with only one win away from qualification, we made a decision as management and informed NCS that we were going to borrow money and take the team to Morocco, which money we expected NCS to reimburse upon return.
After beating Morocco in Rabat 77-65, we automatically qualified for Afrobasket 2021. Upon return we informed NCS about our qualification and further informed them about the need for financial support for the final and the reimbursement of the Morocco expenses. We then presented a detailed accountability of all expenses with receipts and invoices for the Morocco trip to NCS and requested for a reimbursement.
We also presented our proposed budget for the Afrobasket finals in Kigali which included a two-week training camp in Egypt. We were informed by NCS that there was no money to support the team.
Upon further plea to NCS, on the 16th day of August 2021, the Government of Uganda through NCS gace us Ugx 340m apparently for the Afrobasket finals. The money borrowed for the Morocco trip was not settled. As management we were in dilemma as to what to do under the circumstances. We had a debt that was accumulating interest every month and at the same time we were running out of time to take the team to Kigali. We made a business decision to pay the debt and actually paid USD 96000 out of the required the entire team to make sure that the team at least travels to Kigali to beat the 7 days quarantine regulation for people traveling from Uganda, as we sort out other issues of the money. As we stand now, we need Sh360m to cater for all our expenses in Kigali and also pay the remaining balance of the borrowed money.
Players – Jimmy Enabu (City Oilers), Tonny Drilleba (City Oilers), Ben Komakech (City Oilers), Titus Odeke Lual (UCU Canons), James Okello (City Oilers)
Officials – Mande Juruni (Coach), Andrew Tendo (Assistant Coach), Grace Kwizera (Team Manager), Albert Ahabwe (Assistant Team Manager), Mark Ssali (Government Representative), Isa Mapengo (Video/Photography), Brian Tuka (Media), Ndyamuhaki Emanzi (Media).