Gallant She Cranes players have been ordered to take down their tweets asking for what they deserve!
Vice Captain Joan Nampungu and two UK-based players Mary Nuba Cholhok and Stella Oyella took to social media to express their grievances about their treatment.
The trio was responding to First Lady Janet Museveni’s (who doubles as the Minister of Sports and Education) tweet which was congratulating them on their success at the Fast Five World Series.
Nampungu, in her tweet, revealed that they were given Sh50,000 on return from New Zealand! Nuba said that “we demand what we deserve” while Oyella said that the players are tired of false promises.
This has not settled well with Uganda Netball Federation President Sarah Babirye Kityo who claims that these players are being used as pawns in the Netball politics game.
Babirye has asked the players to show utmost respect to the First Lady and told them to follow the right protocol while addressing their issues.
In an audio she sent to the Player’s WhatsApp group, Babirye is heard saying: “I am so much disappointed in you, I don’t know when this indiscipline started. I don’t think this is the right thing to do. I don’t know if you know and understand this Country’s protocol. President Museveni is the Father and First Lady is the Mother of this nation.”
“There is no way you can go on social media and respond to the First Lady, you can’t. You just can’t. If the National team coach or Federation President cannot do that then who are you? People are playing you dirty politics and you are going to be the biggest losers in this battle. We have done our job, and the whole country has stood behind us.
“Everyone is fighting for us, what do you lose if you keep quiet? First Lady has made a tweet and congratulated you, same with the Minister of State for Sports who is also behind you, and the same can be said of the Speaker of Parliament. If she wakes up one morning and puts a block on whatever we are fighting for, do you expect to get anything Something is wrong with you?
“Do you want to say that you don’t know who has been eating your money? If you are annoyed it’s understandable, but you are addressing your issues to the wrong person. If you wrote informing the speaker, then that can be understandable. We can call that a petition at least. If those tweets were directed at NCS (it’s okay), you can’t do that to the First Lady.
“These people who are fighting us have always been telling the First Lady that we are indisciplined and that what you have done is proof of what they have been accusing us of all along.
“Do you want to fight for yourselves so that we can sit aside and keep quiet? Do you think you can fight and win this battle? I am disappointed girls, I don’t think it’s right for you to join the politics of social media. There are formal ways you can do this, you have a right to write a petition and take it to Parliament, you have that right but you don’t have the right to respond to the First Lady. She is the mother of this Country. You all have issues with your mothers but how many times have you taken it to social media? So what have you gained when you took your grievances to Twitter?
“I beg you to leave these Politics alone, I don’t want to see anyone writing about these issues on Social media, leave this battle to us, we started it, we are still in it and this is how far we have brought it.”
Babirye told the players that people who are cheering them on social media will not help them when the Government denies them clearance to go and compete abroad.
And she ordered them to take down the tweets!
She said: “Every National team player who put up a tweet especially responding to the First Lady, put it down! That lady has done a lot to us, you have failed to attack those who are stealing our money yet you know them. But you are attacking someone who we should ally with to fight with. What’s your problem?”
Only Nampungu has put down her tweet.
Nuba has gone ahead to add another tweet (retweet on First Lady’s post) saying that people are not realizing their worth as players, adding that it’s time for a changed mindset towards Women’s sports.
Nuba’s tweet has garnered a positive reaction, with former Uganda Olympic Committee President William Blick saying “you are so correct” and asking the players to see State Minister for Sports Peter Ogwang and seek an audience.
In a private conversation with The-SportsNation, a couple of these players are saying that they are willing to shun National team calls if their issues are not being considered.