Uganda is keen to host the next edition of the African Netball Championship despite concerns about the inadequacy of facilities in the country, the President of the Uganda National Netball Federation Sarah Babirye Kityo has said.
Uganda earned the right to host the 2023 Africa Netball championship during the Africa Netball Federations Annual General Meeting that took place over the weekend in South Africa after beating competition from Kenya, Namibia, and Zambia.
In an interview with Mania Media, Kityo said that winning the bid is a great opportunity for Uganda but hastens to add that the win comes with many advantages and a challenge to the government to support the Federation.
Kityo explains that Uganda’s previous performance in the African Pent Series, the 2021 African Netball Championship, and the just concluded commonwealth games where the She Cranes finished 5th overall, was pivotal in helping Uganda earn the hosting rights.
But Kityo is concerned about the status of the infrastructure in the country saying that there is a huge vacuum in terms of facilities which does not directly match with the She Cranes ranking in the world.
For a long time, the country has been relying on the MTN Indoor Arena which has also been previously contested because it needs renovation. Earlier in 2018, Uganda got some relief when Makerere University kicked off the construction of an indoor Arena in preparation for the 3rd World University Netball Championships.
Prior to the competitions, the Arena was quickly decorated with banners to cover the un-plastered walls and provisions of temporary tents to act as changing rooms for players as well as mobile toilets. However, the arena which was constructed by the UPDF Engineering Brigade is yet to be completed.
But Babirye Kityo says that despite queries on where the tournament will be held, the Federation remains positive about hosting the games. She adds that they are considering using the indoor Arena at Arch Bishop Kiwanuka Primary School in Nakirebe where the She Cranes had a residential camp before the commonwealth games.
This will now be the second time Uganda is hosting the continental games after hosting the 2017 edition in Lugogo.