The good, bad and ugly of the World Varsity Netball Champs

Saturday September 22 2018

Susan Atino of Uganda in action against

Susan Atino of Uganda in action against Zimbabwe during the Fisu University Netball Championship which Uganda won 104-10 at Makerere University. PHOTO by ismail kezaala 

By REGINA NALUJJA

KAMPALA. Despite the World University Netball Championship closing successfully yesterday , it still had some loopholes that held an exciting week.
The weeklong event was full of beautiful performances, unacceptable moments and infamous events.
We take time to review the positive and negatives of the Fisu World University Netball Championships.

New field at Makerere
After the one and only Uganda’s indoor stadium at Lugogo being rendered unsuitable for the World event, through the Ministry of Education and Sports, Makerere University received Shs4.5b to construct a new and better stadium to host the games. The imported tuff provided the best playing ground for the teams save for the facility being incomplete by the time of the competition.

The good
Sponsors
The marriage between Imperial Royale Hotel and the organizers remained intact up to the completion of the games.
The hotel through its partnership with Makerere University provided gyming services to the Ugandan players before the event, fed and accommodated the teams and also provided space for the welcoming dinner.
Likewise IAA Medical Centre – the health partners made sure that medical personnel from the health centre were always on standby to attend to the injured, plus a standby ambulance in case of emergency.

Talents discovered
The competition exposed Uganda’s young talent that could be prospects for the national team, the She Cranes. The combination of young university players with excellent performance showed that, Uganda is gifted with talent. Apart from Betty Kizza, Joan Nampungu and Mary Nuba who are already established, She Cranes players, there emerged other talents like Irene Eyaru, Shaffie Nalwanja, Sharifa Nalunkuuma emerge among others that put up an outstanding show.

Build up for inferior teams
To some participants, the university championship has acted as a buildup, to boost their teams.
A case in point is Kenya that joined the International Netball Federation (INF) earlier this year and managed to win three of her games in the seven- nation’s round-robin tournament, a thing that excited the players
According to their federation president, Immaculate Wambui this was Kenya’s second international duty after the African Netball Championships in Zambia this year. They look forward to participating in more games of the kind. Likewise, United States of America who had taken long without playing netball according to their coach Moreen Beierlein, were happy when to register a win against Singapore after being thumped in other fixtures.

The bad
The leaking arena
We all know that last minute work has never been perfect. Construction at the new arena started early in August, and the contractors had to work day and night to see that the venue is complete. However, the weakness of last minute work was exposed when water passed through the incomplete wall when it rained during one of the games thereby wetting the netball court.

Countries shunned the event
Strong netballing countries like Jamaica, England and Australia, that stiffened the competition in the previous editions, shunned this one leaving it to minnows Kenya, Singapore, USA, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe that were easily walloped by the two power houses Uganda and South Africa. This rendered the event less competitive.

The ugly
Few supporters
Being that the students at Makerere University are in the course of their semester, they were all expected to flood the arena and support their counterparts, however turn up was low.
This may have been caused by poor advertising as most of the students we talked to were not aware that there was a World University Netball Championship taking place at their campus.
Others cited the gate collection of Sh5000 that failed them to attend the games.

UPDF soldiers everywhere
UPDF soldiers were everywhere at places around the venue of the event, others were guarding the entrances, a thing that left many wondering why such tight security would be in place because of a mere university championship. Was it because the games were supposed to be opened by the president of Uganda, who even did not turn up or because the venue was constructed by the UPDF engineering brigade that was trying to guard their un finished work?” A question was poised.

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