Uganda She Cranes before the opening game of the 2017 Africa Netball Championship Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

Over the recent days, Ugandans have come out on Social Media to raise the plight of the Uganda Cranes currently in Egypt for the 2019 AFCON.

The players were demanding that their bonuses be paid before they resume training for the crucial Senegal match that will determine their stay into the next round or not.

Such scenes are not new in Uganda’s sports fraternity but rather an infestation of a continued problem of governance and the general administration of the several sports in this country.

The Uganda Cranes lineup that started against DR Congo.

Federations have gone ahead to ‘fix’ bonuses and other forms of rewards for players and these promises turn out not fulfilled to sometimes the deliberate intentions of the administrators but sometimes the unforeseen circumstances. This greatly demotivates players and encourages strikes amongst them whilst in camps.

Therefore, the Federations must resist from giving false hopes to our athletes without ascertaining where these monetary rewards are to be sourced from, they should only promise what they have and can afford should it necessitate.

The excuse that government delays to release money should not be fronted because federations are familiar with the mechanisms through which the government plans and allocates monies for each and every sector.

Why would you promise am athlete a bonus that the government has allocated for the next financial year with the tournament being in this year? Lest we forget how many competitions we have shunned because of financial constraints.

Another case in point is the She Cranes, Uganda’s national netball team who are currently destined to participate in the Netball World Cup this month. News from several circles indicates they have not been paid bonuses from the previous World Cup that happened in 2015!

She Cranes and Botswana, Africa Netball Championship Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

The She Cranes were not able to play friendlies against Jamaica and Australia due to financial constraints. How do you expect the same players that have arrears to swiftly carry on the national obligations without payments? Also to note, these players have dependants like any other Ugandan, they have several personal ambitions and goals and at least. World over, sports is known to be a profession and thus must pay! This brings me to yet another question, where is all this effort made for the Cranes when you need it for the She Cranes who have previously registered success more than the football national team?

A deeper problem lies in the allocation of funds to the Federations in Uganda. The National Council of Sports, a government agency whose mandate is to develop, promote and control sports activities in Uganda on behalf of government requires 196 billion annually to satisfyingly carry out its mandate but will only receive 17.4 billion in the 2019-20 Financial Year for its over 50 member associations.

Several federations have resorted to lobbying funds from well-wishers and attracting several private players (individuals and corporations) to finance their operations amidst bigger leadership wrangles that are entrenched in them. It is, therefore, safer to announce that national duty at any level is reward free so that athletes participate expecting nothing in return as opposed to false promises which cast a bad image for the nation at large.

To the general public asking these athletes to exercise patriotism before wealth or financial gain, you had a chance to preach patriotism to them before they agreed to represent this nation and therefore you must take a seat since this is above most of you now!

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