The Covid-19 period has for the past one and a half years been a rod for measuring the test of time for the sports fraternity. Basketball has been no exception to these adverse effects that have strained sport throughout, ever since the first lockdown was instituted in 2020.
Efforts to have the 2021 league games seemed strenuous following the directives by the government to close down sports events in order for the crowds not to undermine the stringent SOPs put in place.
FUBA had however shrugged off the financial constraints and resumed the NBL season, having the UCU and KIU courts host the topflight games while Makerere Main Grounds, Nakasero Primary School and Entebbe hosted the lower division games.
The outcome was that teams were faced with extra expenses especially when it came to the impromptu COVID tests that the federation occasionally imposed on the teams.
Amidst all the disparities and adherence to a government directive that restrained games from having fans, the league resumed with hopes for a flourish but to everyone’s surprise, it ended up being a failure.
This was thanks to an unceremonious suspension of the NBL by NCS due to what they termed as non-observance to the said Ministry of Health (MoH) regulations following reports from their officials at the games.
FUBA officials occasionally moved around to ensure that fans were wearing masks but after a couple of games, the chase came to a stop. Crowds of fans were gathered at the different venues where the games were scheduled, hence pushing the Association’s hand.
It is also important to note that before the lockdown was announced by the government, in early June, Division I and Division II games, women and men had also been suspended on financial grounds.
A number of teams hadn’t yet paid their registration fees according to the Federation and these are the funds that run the league activities.
There were of course concerns about FUBA’s aggression and assertiveness in engaging stakeholders like sponsors and the government to help out with the funding and the vaccination of players.
All the above were highlighted during a meeting held by EXCOM on August 12th 2021 where a comprehensive decision to push the league resumption to a further date after ensuring that the clubs don’t get to bear the costs in the event that the NBL resumes.
Fast forward to August 25th and the EXCOM Managers hosted another meeting about the same issue. This conference was chaired by the FUBA Vice President Hudson Ssegamwenge, who also doubles as vice president administration.
A number of inquiries and resolutions were brought forward by the stakeholders that attended this event. Majority of these were representatives from basketball clubs from both the top flight league and the lower leagues.
Key to these resolutions was the resumption of the league on a date to be communicated later with all the remaining games slated to be played and an inquiry into the vaccination of all athletes by the NCS to eliminate the regular testing before games.
The scheduled venues for these competitions will be four, where UCU and Makerere Main Ground are bound to NBL games while Nakasero Primary School and Entebbe prepare for Lower division games.
Additionally, a budget is to be developed by Mr. Gorlden Gumisiriza for the remaining regular season activities of the season and a creation of the playoffs format.
The managers are expected to meet once again on the 4th of September to further discuss the resumption of the league games.