Sunday July 16 2017

Sports fraternity makes a rallying call for support

New Twist. NSSF added flavour to the ceremony

New Twist. NSSF added flavour to the ceremony by handing over full HD Plasma TVs to the top three winners. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO 

By MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA

KAMPALA. No sports event in this country is complete without cries for more financial and infrastructural support to the sector.

Amidst the uplifted mood and glamour – most of it cultural as sportsmen, women, sponsors, guests and journalists yielded to the “Made of Uganda” theme at the Nile Special Uspa Awards Gala at Imperial Royale, there were loud appeals to government and sponsors for more support towards sports.

The first plea to Chief Guest Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations, came from Uspa president Sabiiti Muwanga.

“We are aware of the tough conditions our sportsmen and women go through even when they have to perform at the highest level,” Muwanga said – in a message that previous chief guests at this gala have heard. He was only reiterating it to one closer to the ‘powers that be’.

“Low funding to the sector is still a challenge and government still views sports as a non-funded priority even though the sector is a big industry we are failing to exploit,” Muwanga added.

“I therefore appeal to you to tell the President (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni) to make sports one of the special operations in this country,” Muwanga petitioned the first son.

When winner of the Uspa Legendary Award Sheila Agonzibwe, took to the podiums, she said “we need more infrastructure to help us train and compete with the best.” At table No. 8 where this reporter sat, one Cissy Musiime revealed that the biggest reason volleyball players look up to the Uganda International more than any other tournament is because “most of our clubs cannot afford to travel outside the country, so this gives us an opportunity to compete against the best clubs on the continent.”

Save for the Shs30m from the President to the Uspa savings and credit cooperative organization (SACCO), Muhoozi was keen not to make promises even though he challenged athletes to aim for more success. “Let us continue to strive harder, not only to attain success in Uganda but also emulate those like (Onyango) who have won accolades on at the international, regional and continent,” Muhoozi said.

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