By Thomas Odongo
Uganda national volleyball team (Volleyball Cranes) will be in the mix at the 2019 Zone 5 All Africa Games (AAG) Qualifiers, scheduled for June 2-9 in Kenya’s Capital Nairobi.
Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea are the nations that will grace the Nairobi meet, with only the overall winner set to progress to the continental championship.
The national volleyball governing body Uganda Volleyball Federation (UVF) on Monday revealed that they need 12,000 US Dollars (About Shs45.6million) to fully facilitate the team. With just days left to the event, the volleyball custodians are still financially handicapped.
"We have a very good team but the major problem at the moment is lack of finance and facilities. We need money to cater for transport, accommodation, allowances and other things," UVF President Hadija Namanda told the media.
Namanda added that the Federation will look for ways to meet the costs, but all eyes are on National Council of Sports (NCS) whose duty is to meet the Federation’s financial expenses, especially during such sports events.
The national team currently trains from an outside turf (tarmac) yet the zonal meet will be played indoor. Team Head Coach Nason Bwesigye believes that training from outside in preparation for an indoor meet will affect the players psychologically.
"We do not practice high balls due to outside wind yet this is vital. Sometimes players do not go for low balls in training due to fear of injuries," Bwesigye said adding that it might be hard for the team to transition the skills attained during tarmac training into action indoor.
UVF is currently vying to secure the indoor MTN Arena at Lugogo so that the team can have a final flourish in training. 20 players are in camp, including a cast of Europe-based professionals and other semi-professionals. The final squad of 14 players will be named on Thursday with a trial match anticipated to take place on the same day.