Uganda Netball Federation President Sarah Babirye Kityo says that the ongoing Regional Tours have been eye openers as they move to spread the Sport across the country.
Babirye made the developments after their subsequent tour in West Nile on Sunday.
The She Cranes, Uganda’s Senior Women National Netball team, has been touring the Country which is also part of their preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Babirye was overwhelmed by the numbers of people who turned up to watch the She Cranes and also the talent displayed by the locals.
And that has been the case for every region they have toured starting in Masaka last month.
“I am grateful to God because we have had a great regional tour, we have been to every region of Uganda, one would wonder why am saying we have been to every region in Uganda before Kampala, but Kampala is where our head offices are and it’s where Netball is played most and we are visiting Kampala is next and it’s part of Central,” started Babirye.
“This has been an eye opener, not only to us as the Federation but also to the Ministry, NCS, Uganda Olympic Committee and every body that governs Sport. People love Sport, and have talent.
“In every district there is talent, Uganda is so talented. When you look at the way these young people are playing, the people we have come to motivate, it’s like they are already motivated, we really need to put the facilities in place to train the coaches, umpires and help them know what should be done.
“We need to assist them, we need bring these National teams back to them so that they own them after all these are their children and they should grow with them.
“This business of keeping the Sport in Kampala and you think all is well is wrong. At least now as UNF, we know every challenge of each of the region of Uganda. So we are now going back and draw a plan and see how to reach out to every district, County, Sub County, Village and from there we can know how to develop the sport from grassroot.”
Babirye said that they are going to make the tours every year because it’s the only way they can evaluate and make assessment.
She explained: “You can say last year we came here when there was no local club but how many are here now. The fan base. And see where to add effort, what needs to be done best.”
“The Federation Executive is going to move to every district, meeting stakeholders telling them and educating them on the importance of them having this game played in their district, how do they benefit in terms of business, in terms of talent development, we are going to move and grow with them. We are working with Sports Officers, we shall involve all the political stakeholders and local leaders, local people and everybody.
“This being a girl child sport, though it’s also played by men, we need to handle it in a unique way such that we don’t leave anyone lagging behind.”
The tour started in Central Region (Buganda) when the team visited Masaka.
The second was in the East in Namutumba, then moved to West in Rubirizi before the Northern tour in Gulu.
In Arua, She Cranes played three games against Arua Male team select, West Nile Select team and one against each other (She Cranes A Vs She Cranes B).
•She Cranes A 25-08 Men Select team [Arua]
•She Cranes B 33-10 West Nile Region select
•She Cranes A 24-23 She Cranes B
The final regional tour is Kampala Region this Friday 8 July 2022 at Weyonje Grounds in Kibuli.
Mary Nuba Impressed
English-based star Mary Nuba Cholhok who recently joined the team, was also impressed with the regional tour initiative.
“This is my first tour, it has been an amazing experience for me. We have spread a lot of love and in Netball we have seen the locals playing. The love of Netball is wide in Uganda,” Nuba stated.
“It’s good to see the National team go back to the roots where most of the players come from like Irene Eyalu who comes from these areas. We feel the warm welcome Arua has given us.
“Me watching these primary kids play, they have the basic skills and it’s really impressive. They should remain focused and continue working hard, one day they will reach these heights and represent on the National team.
Nuba also added that the tour creates connection amongst the players, spreads the game to those who have never heard about it.
She further commented: “This Netball gives morale to many girls out there who would want to make the Sport part of their career.”