Uganda’s senior Rugby Sevens team has sought for official government honour.
Uganda Rugby players, despite their size, have always shied away when it comes to saying out their views and ask for the recognition they deserve.
And their sweat have gone without being honoured, with Netball and Uganda Cranes enjoying the limelight.
The Rugby Sevens team has played at the World Cup and are two time Africa champions.
When the New State Minister for Sports Hamson David Obua agreed to honour the flag off ceremony for the Rugby Sevens team ahead of their Challenger Series, it was a big chance for the players to air out their views.
“We are very honoured and very privileged to have you here,” started captain Michael Wokorach. “We are one of the best performing national teams in the country and our CV speaks for itself, and we hope to do more as we focus on bringing more success and honour for our nation.”
“We have faced and still facing some challenges, especially in facilitation. We could compete favourably with neighbours Kenya but all is not well. Their teams are well catered for by their governments.
“We lacked medicals, bonuses among others yet we are a small team that is manageable. We need things like Monthly pay and also meet the President because many teams have met him and we need to be in such arrangements.”
There was some visibly some sigh of relief from Wokorach as he had got a pressing issue put forward. His teammates, including his brother and vice captain Philip Wokorach who plays in France, clapped loudly.
This comes after President Yoweri Museveni stressed that athletes who have won gold medals at either continental or global championships are entitled to Sh5M monthly, Sh3M and 1M for silver and bronze respectively.
Museveni also went ahead to give cars and build houses to some of the top sportsmen that have excelled.
Uganda Cranes players receive Sh1M monthly from the Government.
Uganda Rugby Union is one of the eight niche sports federations given priority funding by government through National council of Sports.
However, they receive just Sh250M from NCS.
NCS General Secretary Bernard Ogwel, speaking at Kyadondo commented that they lobbying for the niche sports to receive atleast Sh1bn each.
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Obua Advises Rugby Players
Uganda will be heading to play in the Challenger series in South America in Chile (15-16 Feb) and Uruguay (22-23 Feb).
Uganda reached this stage after finishing second in Rugby Sevens last year.
Uganda will lock horns with Germany, Italy and Paraguay as they target a place to HSBC Sevens.
“Move with determination, go to participate and compete. Success will come to you only when you are organised,” advised Obua.
“I can concede that as government, we need to do more but just know that we are lobbying and advocating for more resources. For starters, I salute the union for attracting corporate sponsors, thank you for doing your part.
“Be rest assured of our support but this should be collective effort, lets all be drumming for more support.”