Uganda men’s national basketball team (Silverbacks) Wednesday finally made its trip to Rwanda ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afrobasket) tournament.
According to the president of the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA), the team departed for Kigali at 6:00am via Nairobi aboard Uganda Airlines and later Rwanda Air.
Uganda will play its first game of the campaign on August 25, 2021 against former African champions, Senegal.
Initially, the Silverbacks were supposed to have a two weeks training camp in Egypt and later depart for Kigali on Tuesday for early preparations. All this was impossible due to financial constraints.
The constraints trace back to July when silverbacks automatically qualified for Afrobasket 2021 after beating hosts Morocco in Rabat 77-65.
The team which had travelled to Morocco on borrowed money had hoped the National Council of Sports (NCS) would reimburse the money upon return to clear the debts.
However upon return, FUBA says when they informed NCS about the need for financial support for the finals and reimbursement of the Morocco expenses, they were informed that there was no money.
“We also presented our proposed budget for the Afrobasket finals in Kigali which included a two weeks training camp in Egypt. We were informed by NCS that there was no money to support the team” FUBA noted.
Following further pleas, on August 16, 2021, government through NCS finally came to the team’s rescue with Shs340 million.
Unfortunately, of the money, FUBA says they used $96,000 to pay part of the $100,000 accumulating debts arising from the Morocco trip.
However, FUBA says, it has successfully secured tickets on credit for the entire team to help the team travel to Kigali to beat the 7 days quarantine regulations for people traveling from Uganda as it finds ways of raising more money to clear the debts.
“As we stand now, we need Shs360 million to cater for all our expenses in Kigali and also pay the remaining balance of the borrowed money”
AfroBasket 2021 will be the 30th edition of the AfroBasket, a men’s basketball continental championship of Africa. The tournament is hosted by Rwanda.
It was originally scheduled to take place between 17 and 29 August 2021, but it was moved back a week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to August, 24 to September 5, 2021.
Uganda is in Group D alongside Senegal, Cameroon and South Sudan.