By Ahmad Muto
The National Men’s Basketball team – The Silverbacks–currently representing Uganda in Kigali, Rwanda at the FIBA Afrobasket is on the verge of getting boxed out of the continental championship prematurely over failure to clear fees.
In a letter addressed to the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni, the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA) president Nasser Sserunjogi explained that the team is currently accommodated in Kigali on credit and they were given up to Sunday, August 29, 2021 to find the money.
“We have run out of excuses and we are afraid of being embarrassed. We have tried as much as possible to keep this away from the team such that they can focus on playing the game, however we have run out of time. This is to therefore kindly request for the Government of Uganda to bail us out,” he wrote.
The Silverbacks play Nigeria on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in a pre-quarterfinal playoff, but first, they will have to cough over sh360m for their accumulated debts.
On August 16, the National Council of Sports (NCS) General Secretary, Dr Bernard Ogwel handed over a sack of money, $95,506 (sh340m) to the FUBA president, Nasser Sserunjogi for the tournament, only to pay a money lender moments later. Serunjogi, through a letter, argued at the time that out of their arrears totalling to $100,000, they paid $96,000 because it was accumulating interest every month. They managed to secure tickets for the whole team to travel to Kigali on credit, in need of more sh360m for expenses. FUBA borrowed the money to go play in qualifiers with Morocco and Cape Verde.