The Federation of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA) has managed to navigate the various financial challenges that have characterized them for the larger part of this year to send two junior basketball teams to Egypt Cairo in a bid to represent the country.
The two teams are the Junior Gazelles (girls) and Junior Silverbacks (Boys) who are both destined to take part in the FIBA Africa U16 Championships scheduled to commence on August 6.
It is imperative to note that given the financial constraints, this dream trip almost failed to come to a realization and therefore took a lot of dedication and lobbying from the hierarchy at the federation.
FUBA president Nasser Sserunjogi spoke highly of the tremendous job done in soliciting for funds from various stakeholders so as to make the trip successful.
“We have tried all our best and approached different parents, wellwishers and partners but as I keep saying, these National teams must be a responsibility of the government.” He told the Press during the team’s send off in Lugogo.
Just last month, FUBA had to endure the same financial constraints to facilitate the travel of the Men’s team (The Silverbacks) to Morocco for the Afrobasket Qualifiers. An adventure the Silverbacks used to market the country by qualifying for the tournament that will be in Kigali, Rwanda later this month.
The decision however came at big cost to the ladies senior team the Gazelles as their trip to Kigali for the Women Afrobasket Qualifiers was canceled.
“The Federation would like to thank its partners below who have made this dream a success for these youngsters – Stanbic Uganda, Dott Services Limited, The Parliament of Uganda, City Tyres, City Tyres Limited, Ham Enterprises, Madhvani Group, Kampala City Authority and Government of Uganda (Covid19 tests).”
The teams that will leave for Cairo on Thursday, will be rubbing shoulders with the continent’s powerhouses including Egypt and Mali.
Egypt, for example, camped in Serbia in preparation for this tournament. The same cannot be said of Uganda’s junior teams that leave after few days of training.
The boys have been undergoing training at Makerere University and a residential camp for Girls at the Africa Bible University in Lubowa.
Sserunjogi says that Uganda needs to participate in these junior tournaments if they are to compete favourably at the senior team in the near future.
He stated: “When we took office with my Executive, our priority was grassroots basketball development. To compete at the senior level, we need to invest in grassroots and that will be key. We want to make this a culture.”
Kenneth Agutamba, Manager Reputation and communication at Stanbic Bank vowed to help the growth of Sports.
He said: “As business and economy, we have been at home but when FUBA asked for some funding, we said that we can make it possible. We have contributed a token of Sh15m and we hope they will make us proud. We look forward to exploring ways on how to make Sport flourish.”
Besides Stanbic, Dott services contributed Sh20m, Uganda Parliament sent in Sh10m, Mandela group (city Tyres) contributed Sh10m, Ham enterprises Sh10m, Madhvani group Sh6m, KCCA Sh4m and Government covered the Covid test with Sh7.476m.
Besides hosts Egypt, other countries like Mali, Guinea, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Algeria and Zimbabwe are expected to take part.
The top teams will qualify to the FIBA Africa U17 Championship in 2022.
The Junior Teams
Girls – Mary Priscilla Nambogo, Sarah Namale, Bernadette Babirye Nalweyiso, Zoe Atek, Mariam Namukwaya, Christine Namyalo, Saima Christine, Elisha Tashobya Elisa Mulungi, Gertrude Nyamutoro, Sharon Lamwaka, Immaculate Adongpiny
Coaches – Roger Sserunyigo and Ali Mavita
Boys – Favour Siima Birungi, Mathew Kisakye, Joel Muwonge, Emmanuel Omara, Brighton Galiwango, Fahad Ssempebwa, Yuhi Rukikare, Dada Benedict Olusegun, Ethan Bulenzi, Clarence Ssekawu Mayengo
Coach – Ronnie Mutebi
Team Delegation – Hudson Ssegamwenge (Head of Delegation), Tashobya Ambrose (Official), Oringa Joy Abooki (FIBA Commisioner), Nasuuna Monica (FIBA Referee), Ssebalamu Brian (FIBA Referee), Otuk Isaac Gabriel (Team Doctor)