Ndejje filled with hope after varsity games greenlight

Eng Patrick Ssekigongo (L) leads a delegation from participating universities to tour the facilities. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

What you need to know:

A neat finish is not in sight at the main grounds which are yet to be levelled with the synthetic tartan still expected while the venue that will host basketball, netball, handball and volleyball is expected to be completed in about two weeks. But chief engineer Patrick Ssekigongo is relaxed.

At the end of the two-day meeting with technical officers, Ndejje was declared ready to host the East Africa University Games in December.

But all that goes to the commitment and resourcefulness exhibited by the local organising committee, not that the facilities are even complete.

When the delegation toured the university in Luweero on Friday, they were taken around the campus to look at the progress being made.

The five-day Eastern Africa University Games will run between December 16 and 20, 2022.

“Ndejje has done the best they can. I can say they are very prepared to have the games,” Bonkas Salano, the vice president of the Eastern Africa University Sports Federation (FEAUS), said.

Ndejje has been preparing for the arrival of athletes who will participate in 20 sports, coaches and volunteers. Although Ndejje is the third university to host the games, they are facing the enormous amount of responsibility ahead of them with tenacity.

The university will use facilities of Ndejje SS, Lugogo hockey grounds and Bombo Army barracks to complement their own for the multi-sport event.

Almost there

A neat finish is not in sight at the main grounds which are yet to be levelled with the synthetic tartan still expected while the venue that will host basketball, netball, handball and volleyball is expected to be completed in about two weeks. But chief engineer Patrick Ssekigongo is relaxed.

"We are almost 60 per cent done with the facilities. We are levelling the main ground to be able to lay the tartan but we shall not touch the playing surface. That will be done when the games are completed," Ssekigongo said.

Football will be hosted at the campus, Ndejje SS and Bombo Army on six pitches while volleyball, which also requires six pitches, will be co-hosted by Ndejje SS so is netball and handball. Hockey will be hosted at Lugogo while the rest of the other games will be at the main campus.

Each host university faces its own set of unique challenges in preparation for the university games and Ndejje is already racing against time to have the facilities functional by the deadline day on November 30. It may not be the case of 2017 when University of Kigali pulled out of hosting the games with just two weeks left which forced organisers to zero on Kyambogo, but Ndejje is working around the clock since work started about five weeks ago.

A host university must have adequate sports facilities, proper medical care, accommodations, feeding and good roads.

Sports minister Peter Ogwang allayed all fears confirming government willingness to have the games go on smoothly.

While presiding over the pre-games symposium at Imperial Royale Hotel on Thursday, the minister promised $1m to be delivered to the organisers soon.

Do your part

Florence Nakamya, the head of the games secretariat, indicated that much as they are doing their best to have exceptional games, universities must also do their part.

She noted that by last week only 45 universities had expressed interest with 11 submitting entries.

“We are preparing for more than 4,000 athletes from at least 60 universities and we hope those slots will be filled by the deadline,” Nakamya said.

Teams have until November 18 to confirm their participation. After which time the secretariat and technical team will conduct the draws and release fixtures.

These games will be unusual for most Ugandan universities as they will not field first year students. But universities have been cautioned against breaching regulations.

“There will be sanctions and we don’t want to be in a position that compromises the values of any university. For instance, no students offering certificates will be allowed in the games. Only diploma and degree students are eligible to participate,” Salano, a lecturer at the United States International University Africa (USIU Africa), said.


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