By Martin Kaddu
The State minister for Sport Peter Ogwang insists netball and boxing are still priority sports of Uganda despite a recent media publication by the National council of sports (NCS) that showed relegation of the two disciplines to the second tier.
While launching the national netball team, She Cranes, road to this year’s netball world cup due July and August in South Africa at African Bible University in Lubowa on Tuesday, the minister re-echoed the government’s commitment to support the two disciplines for their success internationally.
“Boxing and netball are priority sports as far as the National development plan and to be specific, netball is number three in the NCS strategic plan. I do not know about the relegation but maybe it is due to accountability issues in the two federations of late. Funding depends on the international competitions. For example, how much will She Cranes use for the netball world cup in comparison to the category they are in as par the publication. How much the boxing federation can use in year on international competitions! These are the parameters for funding and you know netball and boxing performances internationally,” he noted.
Ogwang, who does not believe in financial ring fencing for certain federations says that funding will always depend on the major competitions but also warned that there will be no escape route to avoid accountability.
“Some federations want specific amounts of money despite having no international competitions and recognisable performances; that will not be possible. We are accountable and have to ensure value for public funds. It is the reason we are going to sign a memorandum of understanding with federations,” he adds.
According to Uganda boxing federation president Moses Muhangi, they have received only Shs133m the whole of the current financial year.
“We do not see the value of being a priority sport either because we get less than federations ranked below us. For Example, we were ranked by NCS as the best federation last year but now, we are not a priority sport! There is no proper procedure used to determine a priority sport just as there are no proper funding guidelines,” he observed.
As the She Cranes prepare for the netball world cup with full government support, the national boxing side, Bombers, risk missing out on the African boxing championship which is due next weekend in Cameroon. Muhangi says that they are yet to secure funds to assemble the team.