Basket Balllatest

Can The Players Association Exorcise Past Demons And Finally Take Off?

There is a lot of excitement after news of revamping the Uganda Basketball Players Association (UBPA) came through this week.

The body, initially formed in 2011, failed to live as advertised before going dormant.

Renown Basketball fanatic Albert Ahabwe who also doubles as the Silverbacks (Uganda’s Men Basketball national team) Manager sold the idea to the players back in 2011.

“It was basically because players were getting screwed by teams and had no recourse or empowerment of their own – because the powers are at the Federation where team owners and were complicit in the mistreatment of the players,” Ahabwe reflects on the idea.

“So we figured, why not have a trade union that gives every player the power/backing of the group?”

JKL Lady Dolphins players

However, Ahabwe says that his initiative was meant with dissent given that he was not a player.

“There was resistance among team owners and some players wondered who I was representing them as. That’s how I ended up not being in the initial committee,” he adds.

“I let the real players constitute themselves.”

In October 2011, the association got off the mark when they elected an Executive Committee that had Eric Malinga as a President.

Less than two years on, the association was unofficially disbanded.

Ahabwe says that there was a lot of “disorganisation” as either players didn’t know how to organise themselves and run an association or they didn’t feel the need.”

Mavita Ali, coach of KCCA Leopards, who was a Committee Member (Women), shares a different opinion:

“The Association faltered a bit because we didn’t bring the players together as much as we should have.”

Ali Mavita. FUBA

On what should be done, Mavita says that organisers should get the players on board and let them own the association and leverage their numbers.

She explained: “The players should be part of the processes that make the association; form the objectives, get their fellow players on board, lay a good foundation for the future.”

FUBA Technical Director Nicholas Natuhereza earlier told The-SportsNation that the association will elect new Leadership possibly by the close of the year if Covid19 pandemic permits.

Natuhereza is spearheading the revamping process and is working alongside Paul ‘Magyver’ Odong (Nam Blazers) and Flavia ‘Flirsh’ Oketcho (JKL Lady Dolphins).

Former City Oilers player (now at JKL Dolphins) Daniel Juuko says that he 100% supports the idea of revamping the association.

Najja, as commonly known, explained: “Players have so much they can add to this game besides playing. I think through this association our views can be aired out in an organised way.”

The Basketball League season was ended without consultation from the players. FUBA photo

Veteran Superstar Vicky Ntale says that the association should ensure that the rights of players are protected and that every conceivable measure is taken to assist players in maximising their opportunities and achieving their goals both and and off the court.

Ntale, formerly at A1 Challenge, added: “The decisions about players have been majorly done by the Technical team in FUBA but I also believe if a member of the players association is added to this committee it will act as a balance on both sides of the party.

“I also think the Federation should be willing to also listen and work with the Players Association as well.”

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