Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The She Cranes are yet to secure air tickets to travel for the World Netball championship in Liverpool, United Kingdom scheduled for July 12th to 21st. The delegation comprises 25 people including 16 players, five Ministry of Education and Sports official and technical staff.
The She Cranes are among teams drawn from sixteen countries that will take part and are in Group D alongside the hosts England, Samoa and Scotland. Uganda’s delegation plans to travel on July 5th, 2019 and spend 17 days in Liverpool.
However, with less than a month to the tournament, the Uganda Netball Federation-UNF is set to secure air tickets for the team. The Federation President, Susan Anek fears that air ticket prices could hit the US$ 1500 or 2,000 mark by the time they secure the required funds.
According to Anek, in January the federation booked each air ticket at US$ 750 (approximately Shillings 2.8 million) but by last month, each ticket was at US $ 1,250 (approximately Shillings 4.7 million).
Since 25 people, including the national team will travel, Anek thinks that the federation will end up paying about US$ 50,000 Dollars (approximately Shillings 188 million) if each ticket costs US $ 2,000 Dollars (approximately Shillings 7.5 million).
Such costs could be minimized if the federation gets between Shillings 1 billion to Shillings 2.1 billion to among others purchase air tickets weeks before the event. Anek is not certain of how much the government, through National Council of Sports-NCS will release for the pending activities.
The federation also has to secure funds to feed the delegation plus allowances. The World Cup organisers asked the Ugandan team to stay at the Pullman Liverpool Hotel, which Anek estimates could charge the £100 Pounds (approximately Shillings 470,000) each in feeding costs.
Anek is however grateful to the National Council of Sports-NCS for releasing Shillings 160million in the last quarter, which among others was spent on clearing debts of Shillings 10 million for the Uganda –Zimbabwe buildup match held in April, some warm-up uniforms, visa fees Shillings 55 million and the non-residential training at Lugogo Indoor Stadium, which commenced last month.
The Uganda Netball Federation is among the eight priority sports associations that receive between Shillings 300 million to Shillings 10 billion every year. In the 2018/2019 financial year budget, netball federation was allocated Shillings 1.5 billion translating to Shillings 137 million per quarter.
The three buildup games scheduled to take place between April and June in Jamaica, Australia and Malawi were cancelled due to funding shortfalls. Despite the funding gap, Anek says that the national team is upbeat about the event.
The team is expected to leave on July 5th, 2019 and then train for at least four days before the first game against England. England is currently ranked second in the world while Uganda is seventh.
England beat Uganda in the three-match series held last November and December. England won 50-46 in the first match, then 65-53 in the second match and 66-37 in the final match.
Last week, the final squad of 12 players was named. They are Peace Proscovia, Mary Nubba cholkoh, Lilian Ajio, Jesca Achan, Meeme Ruth, Betty Kizza,
Racheal Nanyonga, Sylivia Nanyonga, Joan Nampugu, Stella Oyella, Stella Nanfuka and Muhaimuna Naamuwaya.
Seven of these players such as Peace Proscovia and Rachaal Nanyonga participated in Uganda’s first World Cup appearance in 2015. The team emerged 8th in the world.