Silverbacks, again, too broke for WC qualifiers

Handicap. Sserunjogi’s Fuba is perpetually broke. PHOTO/J. BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • The most recent financial handicap was at the Afrobasket championship in Kigali, Rwanda, in August when the team only left a few days to the start of the tournament and made headlines for lacking sufficient funds for their stay across the border.

The local basketball federation, Fuba, and the men’s national team, the Silverbacks, have cut quite a unique identity for the themselves –  the seemingly inherent ability to be cash-strapped before every major basketball campaign.
The Silverbacks are scheduled to play Mali, Cape Verde and Nigeria between Friday and Sunday in the first window of the Fiba World Cup Qualifiers in Angola.

Travel to Angola, however, is subject to availability of resources from government, with Fuba president Nasser Sserunjogi worried the team could miss the trip.
“The likelihood of not going is at 90 per cent,” Sserunjogi told Daily Monitor. “Everything we’ve tried is not working out.” 

Silverbacks fail financial dunk

It is not the first time the team is struggling to get funds for a trip. The most recent financial handicap was at the Afrobasket championship in Kigali, Rwanda, in August when the team only left a few days to the start of the tournament and made headlines for lacking sufficient funds for their stay across the border.

When contacted on the matter, National Council of Sports (NCS) General Secretary Bernard Patrick Ogwel said he was not in position to comment.
“I don’t want anything to do with basketball. I won’t make any comment,” he said. “You can talk to the president or the minister.”

Back to back problems
Fuba’s problems started with the second phase of the Afrobasket Qualifiers in Morocco.
Having missed the games in Tunisia following positive Covid-19 cases in their camp, the Silverbacks had their games rescheduled to July away to Morocco and Cape Verde.
NCS had provided the funds for the trip to Tunisia but said there was no money for the one to Morocco.

Fuba had a decision to make. Find a way of getting to Morocco or forfeit the remainder of the qualifiers and miss out on Afrobasket. 
With a win over Morocco enough to see Uganda qualify and avoid a trip to Praia to play Cape Verde, Fuba borrowed money ($100,000 – Shs350m) for the trip in anticipation that NCS would reimburse on return.The Silverbacks went on to defeat Morocco 77-65 to seal qualification to the finals.

The federation, according to Sserunjogi, then used money (340m) from NCS for the finals in Kigali to pay the debt acquired for the Morocco trip and were back in a financial crisis that dominated headlines at Afrobasket.
It took the intervention of the Commander Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, for the team to clear their bills in Kigali totaling up to Shs188m amid much public embarrassment. 

The Silverbacks finished sixth at Afrobasket and fancy their chances of getting one of the five tickets to the World Cup. 

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.