27 October 2008

UGANDA : Falcons stranded, KCC Leopards off

by Sande Bashaija

Mogas Falcons’ hopes of travelling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the Africa Zone 5 Club Championships, have steadily faded. The MTN-Fuba League champions are meant to travel tomorrow but lack of funds may prompt them to call-off the trip. “If we fail to leave on Tuesday (tomorrow), we’ll try to inform the organisers about our situation. I know they can accommodate us in the fixture as long they are sure of our participation,” Falcons Patron John Ssimbwa said yesterday.

The six-time national league winners held a fund raising dinner at Arirang Restaurant last Friday but the results never met their expectations. “Being the first time to have such an event, we can’t complain. We managed to launch our website (www.falconsdc.org) and also got some money,” Ssimbwa added.

Falcons need over Shs51m to take a 19-man contingent for the tournament due October 28-November 1. With not more than Shs20m in their coffers, the club management wrote to President Yoweri Museveni last week seeking financial assistance. “We expect a feedback from the President’s office on Tuesday then we plan ahead. But we are still optimistic,” said Ssimbwa.

If Falcons fail to make the trip they will be fined $3,000 (about Shs6.3m) by the world basketball governing body- Fiba and suspended from international competitions for two years.

Falcons’ situation implies Uganda may not have a men’s team at the championship following Kyambogo Warriors’ withdrawal a few weeks back. “We failed to get sponsorship and its not easy sending a strong team without enough funds,” Warriors boss Ambrose Tashobya said. “I just hope Falcons can secure the necessary funds and represent us,” Tashobya, who is also the local basketball governing body - Fuba, president added.

The good news though is that even if Falcons fail to make the trip, Uganda will still have representatives in women champions KCC Leopards who left this morning (3am) for Addis Ababa. “The team is in fine form and we are expecting good results in the tournament,” KCC Leopards team manager Joy Olinga said yesterday.
Sumini Nabatanzi has been appointed captain, replacing Miriam Hamala.

“The players met yesterday and chose Sumini,” Olinga said.
Daily Monitor though learnt that Hamala’s could have lost the captaincy due to her unsuccessful transfer from Leopards for KIU Rangers at end of last season.

The club’s leading scorer together with Becky Akullo only resumed playing for KCC Leopards mid-season after their transfers to KIU Rangers had stalled.

Meanwhile, A-1 Challenge also won’t make the trip, leaving KCC Leopards as the only female Ugandan team in the showpiece.
Champions (men and women) will qualify for the Africa Club Championships.

KCC squad: Hamala, Akullo, Nabatanzi (captain), Carol Nantalo (assisitant captain) Mary Akello, Diana Namukasa, Dorothy Nakyirowa, Frances Nabulobi, Annete Nakiwu, Juliet Sabano, Monica Sima, Linda Tamale and Peace Proscovia

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