Fresh from stunning hosts South Africa to finish fifth at the concluded 2023 Netball World Cup, She Cranes head coach Fred Mugerwa has threatened to throw in a towel!
Mugerwa made the revelations during the She Cranes dinner organised on Monday at Serena just as the team returned from South Africa.
While giving his remarks, Mugerwa threatened to throw in a towel, citing abuses and malice amidst non-payments.
His statements left the room in disbelief, including Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the Minister of State for Education and Sports (Primary).
“We are here celebrating our achievements but had we lost, I would be the one to be blamed. But remember people started abusing me because we selected some people whom I thought would do the work which indeed they did,” Mugerwa started.
“Instead of abusing them (players), encourage them to play so that next time may be they can achieve our goals.
“We are the team with majority of players playing at the World Cup for the very first time.”
“All other team’s, including a country that had a person who was playing a fourth World Cup. We only had one professional player, but we put those teams with their professionals on the ground.”
Mary Nuba and Stella Nanfuka were the only two players who were part of the She Cranes team at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool.
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“People have been abusing the players, I have also been abused, I am sorry but I shouldn’t have said this but it hurts me a person of my age I was once one time accused of sexual harassing these girls but no body has ever come with the proof. I have been in Netball for over 40 years, I have been in Sports for over 50 years because I started playing when I was 17 (and now am around 68).
“The job am doing, the person who appointed me did that because I did the interview and I proved that I was the best person to handle the team.
“And Within one week, we performed well in Namibia. People talked and fought me. But I remained and continued working.
“In 2022 we went for Commonwealth Games, and it was a success, but its still the same people fighting up to now. They are too many including my friends.”
Mugerwa then let it loose:
“I have never received a single cent from Uganda Netball Federation, save for the 500,000 I got from Namibia trip, the whole two years that I have been on the National team.
“But everywhere I see blames, blames and abusing. I have a family, I have grandchildren and people but the moment they see me being abused and tossed up and down, and some of these people are the ones I trained, the so-called coaches. To me I think I may say that enough is enough, may be I may not renew my contract. It is on a bitter note, I cannot be abused and I am not paid. If am abused, and am paid, that is understandable but am just a volunteer.”
Mugerwa said that had they been given whatever they wanted in time, and if the country has better facilities, She Cranes would be number one in the World.
“You can not compete with someone who trains on a springboard yet you have been on tarmac at Kamwokya. And that’s why most of these girls have injuries and we are playing on humble surface.”
Analysis: Bold Mugerwa Drives His Point Home
At 68, Mugerwa has seen it all.
He was unveiled in October 2021 by President Sarah Babirye Kityo, then returning to the National team after he was controversially sacked in 2015, just after qualifying the team to then World Cup.
He only receives allowances but not a monthly salary, just like other National teams coaches except football whose is paid by the Government!
A lot will be taken out of his strong remarks, but his main point was just a reminder that to everyone that he is just volunteering but not on a monthly salary.
And his concern is founded, given that Uganda Cranes (Football) coach Micho earns about $24000 (Sh85m) per month!
This disparity, whatever you wish to call it, has always caused a stir and it reawakens the debate of the criteria used by NCS and Government to disperse funds to different Federations.
With Football taking the Lion’s share, and has in the past failed to fetch more glory, the tide might change given the success of She Cranes (Netball) in South Africa, Gazelles (Basketball) in Rwanda and Bombers (Boxing) in Cameroon.