She Cranes, the national netball side, are scheduled to start training on Monday at Namboole Stadium for the Commonwealth Games in April but the Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) is still tight-lipped on under whose tutelage the team will be in the build-up to the Gold Coast, Australia event.
It is rumoured Vincent Kiwanuka, who led the team to the African Netball Championship trophy in June last year, will not be given another chance. But the federation has not mentioned his successor yet, saying it will be ‘a surprise’ on Monday.
The netball federation is known for ‘recklessly’ hiring and firing national coaches without following any formal procedure.
Notably, veteran coach Fred Mugerwa was sacked a few weeks to the 2015 World Cup, replaced by Rashid Mubiru, who was also unceremoniously replaced by Kiwanuka ahead of the 2017 African Championship.
Federation spokesman Wilberforce Mutete said 28 players will begin training on Monday (January 15) before they embark on regional tours on January 27 in Masaka, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Hoima, Arua, Lira, Soroti, Mbale and Iganga.
Mutete explained: “These regional tours will make the team known to people in different regions and experience will be gained after the successive encounters with regional teams.”
He therefore urged people in those regions to overwhelmingly support the She Cranes cause.
To match their potential opponents elsewhere who are already busy in international friendlies and tournaments ahead of Games, Uganda, placed seventh in the netball world rankings, also expects some friendlies.
The most anticipated one will be in the Caribbean against the Barbados national team, two weeks after the regional tours.
Third-placed England had invited She Cranes for a friendly during their South African trip for 2018 Netball Quad Series, contested by four of the five highest ranked netball nations due January 20-28, but South Africa said they do not have facilitation for Uganda. However, UNF is still hopeful for the aforementioned offer.