Ray of hope as Ndejje readies for East Africa University Games

Construction workers going about their job at the tennis courts. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

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University vice chancellor Prof Eriabu Lugujjo stressed the role Ndejje plays in Uganda's sports landscape reiterating the need to be supported to pull off the games.

Across the spectrum there is work being done. The local road network linking the university facilities, the pitches and other playing facilities are all under construction. 

With the clock ticking on the East African University Games expected to be hosted at Ndejje University in Luweero between December 16-21, the campus is a beehive of activities. 

On Tuesday while the sports minister Peter Ogwang and a delegation from the National Council of Sports (NCS) made a courtesy call to check on the preparedness of the university to host the multi-sport games, he expressed a frisson of excitement. 

"How long do you think you can hand over this facility," Ogwang asked the lead engineer at the basketball, handball, tennis, netball and volleyball courts that have been dug up instead of continuing with the repainting plan.

The engineers confirmed that this will be ready at least at the beginning of November. 

University vice chancellor Prof Eriabu Lugujjo stressed the role Ndejje plays in Uganda's sports landscape reiterating the need to be supported to pull off the games.

The minister, who also toured the hostel facilities that will host more than 4,000 students from 60 universities during the five-day event, strongly urged the organisers to ensure the facilities are safe for everyone. 

“We don't need to embarrass the country. We might have to work day and night. We must do extra work," Ogwang said while briefing the university top executives before confirming that President Museveni’s pledge will come thorough this week.

Ndejje will be the fourth university in Uganda to host the games after Makerere, Kyambogo and Uganda Christian University Mukono. 

We are ready

Patrick Ssekigongo, the university engineer said although the work is overwhelming, they will deliver a pristine event in time.

"We are now in phase B and I am happy with the progress. I am confident that by November 30, everything will be ready, Eng Ssekigongo said.

He explained that the ball courts will be ready in less than three weeks while the swimming pool is are almost done. An athletic tartan turf is also ready for shipment.

He added that the Complant’s contract was cancelled just last month to catch up with the time.

Paul Mark Kayongo, the university finance manager said the original plan focused on upgrading the swimming pool to Olympic levels, a modern gym and running track, but they will now run a manageable plan.

"When we went to plan B, we reduced our budget to Shs12b. Some of the work will fit directly in Plan A but we have to do the refurbishment of the pool, have an acceptable running track, a new tennis court as well as the basketball and netball courts," he said.

Kayongo explained that the university has already spent in excess of Shs2b towards the games while Shs1.5b is expected from the participating universities. About Shs500m is expected from the private sector. President Museveni has pledged Shs3bn.

To pull of the games, Ndejje SS and Bombo Army Barracks will help host some activities. 

Dr Patrick Ogwel, the NCS General Secretary, reiterated the need to support Ndejje. 

“Hosting games of this magnitude is very expensive. Ndejje has used their resources to have the games and I am happy government is complimenting their activities. Where need be they should be supported to have successful games," Ogwel, said.

More inclusive

Florence Nakamya, the head of the secretariat stressed that these games will be like no other.

To promote inclusiveness, sitting volleyball will be included on the menu as well as women's rugby sevens. Teams are expected to compete in 20 games.


$5m - The cost of upgrading the university sports facilities.

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