By Ahmad Muto
There is a cloud of uncertainty hovering over the men’s national basketball team, the Silverbacks’ quarterfinal game with Cape Verde today, Thursday, September 2, 2021.
After their historic 80 – 68 win over Nigeria that saw them sail to the Afrobasket quarterfinals in Kigali, Rwanda, their funding woes that have been in the red have returned to haunt them.
According to the Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (FUBA) president, Nasser Sserunjogi, they are not sure whether the game will take place because they received communication for the second time to either clear their outstanding bills or get kicked out of the tournament.
“The game is there, but we are not so sure if it will happen or not,” he said.
It should be noted that they were initially given a deadline of Sunday, August 29, 2021 to clear their arrears before playing Nigeria on Tuesday or get thrown out of the hotel hosting them and out of the tournament, but they somehow managed to talk themselves out of it. Sserunjogi wrote a letter to the first lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni on Monday, highlighting their plight, also stating that they were afraid of getting embarrassed.
Their woes started after they took out a $100,000 loan for a trip to Morocco early this year for the Afrobasket qualifiers. In mid-August, ahead of the continental championship, they received sh340m from the Government through the National Council of Sports (NCS) and used it to clear a debt with a loan shark, got free tickets for the entire team and left for the tournament. However, they have been asking government to add them another sh360m since. The Government is yet to pronounce itself on the matter.