30 October 2008

UGANDA : Falcons Out of Zone 5

by Sande Bashaija

Mogas Falcons will have to wait for another year to play continental basketball following their withdrawal from the ongoing Africa Zone 5 Club Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The MTN-Fuba League men's topflight reigning champions were let down by lack of funds. In a desperate move to raise over Shs51m required to take a 19-man contingent, Falcons management wrote to President Yoweri Museveni for financial assistance.

Although the President's response was positive, it came too late for the funds to be processed from the sports ministry in time for the tournament that got underway Tuesday evening. "We could only travel last (Tuesday) night. But it required the ministry more time to get us money," Falcons Patron John Ssimbwa said yesterday. "It's disappointing because we invested in a lot of time and effort. However, it was a learning curve for us," Ssimbwa added.
Falcons' withdrawal now leaves National League women champions KCC Leopards as Uganda's only representatives. Champions in both the men's and women's categories earn a slot to the Africa Club Championships due next month. "We have missed a great and rare opportunity," Ssimba noted.
Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (Fuba) assistant general secretary Joseph Manano said they were waiting for Falcons to formally inform them of their withdrawal. "They have a backlog of about four league games. If they have pulled out, we shall have to fix the games soon," Manano said.
The six-time league champions were though lucky to survive a two-year ban and cash fine. "We had not confirmed participation and that has saved us from suspension," Simbwa said.

Tomorrow at Lugogo
MBC Rocks v Berkley 5pm
KIU Rangers v Sparks 6:30pm
UCU Canons v Miracle 8pm

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