19 December 2010

UGANDA : Basketball umpires now in the spotlight

Seeing huge crowds throng local basketball games is a clear testament that the game is going places with numbers many other administrators would kill for.

Even then, the MTN-Fuba League has its flaws mainly in the lack of coaches to aid technical development across the four divisions and just a handful of referees.

Wednesday night bred controversy as Warriors defeated 90-89 Power in overtime to level the best-of-seven final series at 3-3. Game Seven was last night.

Umpires Hamza Nyambogo and Peter Kirabo were at the centre of it in a series that had previously grabbed all the right headlines.
The noose is fast tightening on the pair following insults exchanged with Power’s Norman Blick and Isaac Afidra when a presumed foul was not called on Ben

Now, the Fuba technical committee headed by William Musaazi has to find not only palatable but sufficient answers or else the game could fall into disarray. “This league has come from very far. For example, when we took charge four years ago, there wasn’t any policy for recruitment, development and deployment of officials but now there’s even a constitution,” Musaazi told Sunday Monitor.

These steps have only yielded seven referees to handle games involving 41 teams! When the play-offs came, Fuba decreed that only those with Fiba badges leaving four umpires to officiate.
According to Musaazi, “all registered clubs must send a person to Fuba for a basic refereeing course which is four months but many have not met their end of the bargain.”

Fuba head
Fuba president Ambrose Tashobya, also Warriors’ patron, was not being as fans, some in tears, attacked him over the perceived favours his team gets from officials.

He has been head of the basketball body since late 2006 and is due to step aside at the end of this year. The insinuations of his influence however false they might be can be easily understood.

“It’s all in the mind. People forget that I was coach of the Warriors in 2007 when the (Mountain Dew) Falcons came from behind to beat us in the finals. How come people didn’t say (the referees are influenced)?” Tashobya said in defence.

Back then, Warriors led the five-game series 2-0 only for Falcons to fight back and snatch the championship from Tashobya’s grasp.

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