Uganda Netball Federation President Sarah Babirye Kityo said that the Fundraising dinner was just a stick they planted in an ocean to measure it’s depth.
On Tuesday, the Federation collected over Sh100m from a couple of Sponsors and Well-wishers directed towards the Federation’s plan of building a new home.
Despite the Chief Guest, the Hon Speaker of Parliament Anita Among failing to make it to Serena, Babirye expressed her satisfaction from what they achieved from the Dinner, and added that “this is just the start.”
“It has been a success,” Babirye told Journalists at Serena after a colourful event.
“We have had people who not only bought tables but pledged towards the cause. I haven’t talked to the Treasurer but I believe it’s above Sh100m already.”
Eco Bank contributed Sh10m, the same amount brought on board by Pastor Aloysius Bugingo and wife Susan Makula under their church House of Prayer Ministries.
A couple of Betting Companies under their umbrella body Uganda Gaming Board contributed Sh34m.
And a couple of MPs, including former Athlete Julius Achon, pledged Sh3m each.
The Federation plans to buy Land around the Central region (Kampala, Mukono or Wakiso) worth Sh2bn, a target they hope to achieve in two years.
“We agreed that we are going to be doing it in phases, so the first phase is buying land and we are looking at Sh2bn,” Babirye stated.
Then they will build a state of the art Netball facility that will have both indoor and outdoor courts, training areas among others.
The whole project is expected to cost more than Sh5bn, and Babirye is confident that it’s a dream they can turn into a reality.
“Given time, we shall get there. The fact that I didn’t find a penny in the office, and as I talk now, there is some money that is raised and pledged, believe me we shall get there.”
The National Netball Team, the She Cranes, has had the best part of their training for Commonwealth Games at Kamwokya, an outdoor facility before shifting base to Nakirebe.
And it has been worse in the previous tournaments where the team once trained at Lugogo Hockey Pitch, with the MTN Indoor Arena proving unaccessible.
And the team has gone on to achieve success, including playing thrice at a World Cup, being ranked sixth in the world and producing international stars like Peace Proscovia and Mary Nuba.
And having their own home, the ambitious Babirye believes that a lot more will be achieved.
“It’s so important, it gives us confidence and a lot of time to prepare, and also fetches money and also gives us an opportunity to host for example, if we had a good facility, we should have already hosted many international friendlies and tournaments,” Babirye summarised.
“Having our own home is just long overdue.”
Babirye also said that more fundraising dinners will be held when the team return from Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and they will ensure that they reach out to everyone for support.
She Cranes Replicas Hit Market
The Federation also unveiled replica kits for the She Cranes that have been made available for the fans to buy.
“We didn’t have any replica as a Federation, and everytime we have been traveling, fans would come and asked for them,” Babirye explained.
“We were challenged while we were in South Africa and overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted these jerseys. They reached an extent of buying some of the T-Shirts for Plascon which were only branded Team Uganda behind at USD100. They wanted something Ugandan.
“Now we are travelling for Commonwealth Games, there are many people out there who are waiting for these replicas. There are so many people in offices even here that have been asking for them and want to wear them to show support especially on days we shall be playing.
“It’s a great honour to have such a jersey, if you love Peace Proscovia or Nuba, and she signs on the Jersey, it’s very memorable.”