Ajax Amsterdam, the Dutch soccer team, on Thursday had their Champions League hopes boosted after the Netherlands FA postponed Eredivisie fixtures on the weekend before their semi-final first leg against Tottenham Hotspur.
This was done after consultations with all clubs, and will allow Ajax rest on the same weekend opponents Tottenham face West Ham in the English Premier League.
This was hardly convenient for all parties, but all agreed that for the good of Dutch football, and for Ajax to improve their chances of winning the first Champions League title since 1995, it was a move worth taking.
This brings us to our very own national netball team, the She Cranes. These ladies have worked their way to the very top of the world through untold adversities like uncomfortable bus trips across Africa and laughable allowances.
But like the Dutch FA, we can try to get our priorities right. With just under three months to the She Cranes second successive World Cup games in Liverpool, we cannot be having our national team tossed about for training.
At the beginning of their training early last month, the team were pushed to train from the neighbouring hockey grounds because the MTN Arena was being used by badminton players.
This left players complaining of knee and elbow injuries due to falls on the sand-maintained astro-turf. The team hoped to train from the new Makerere Arena. But after the World University Netball Championships last year, the standard turf was removed for re-construction, which is yet to happen.
“We have other options for training like the Luzira Prisons Ground, but now that the players are in non-residential training, it is very far and cannot be easily assessed,” said She Cranes coach Vincent Kiwanuka.
“The indoor arena is okay for us, but we are always forced to vacate it when people hire it for events,” he added.
These girls have earned the right to get all support they can. While National Council of Sports can do with a little more revenues from other events, especially non-sporting events, no amount can measure up to hoisting the Ugandan flag in Liverpool, with millions worldwide watching.
Time is of essence. Only one friendly against Zimbabwe this week has been secured so far, with Jamaica, Australia and Malawi all yet to confirm.
So all the support these girls can get in their preparations is welcome. However, this cannot be achieved without authorities being deliberate about the availability of the arena.
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