KAMPALA – The Cranes’ coach Fred Mugerwa has threatened to resign on the Ugandan national netball team returned home from the Netball World Cup 2023 tournament.
The national netball team, the She Cranes returned home on Monday – hours after finishing fifth – a performance that propelled Uganda on the summit of the African continent in the game. Netball World Cup ended in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday with Australia claiming a 12th tittle in history.
The She Cranes travelled back aboard a Uganda Airlines plane to embark celebrations in reaction to the team’s performance and coach Mugerwa saw an opportunity in exposing the dirty at the sport’s management level during a state dinner staged on Monday at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
She Cranes had a day earlier, dethroned hosts South Africa from the continent’s top spot in a fifth place game, which Uganda won 49-47 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The Sunday result was a retaliation of South Africa’s pinching of Uganda in both sides’ final group G – three days earlier, but almost a repeat of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham meeting – about a year ago.
At the Serena Hotel party, coach Mugerwa revealed how some people at the Uganda Netball Federation – UNF had continuously sabotaged his efforts to technically guide the She Cranes, in addition to declining to pay his salary.
“We are here celebrating the team’s achievements; if we had we lost, I would take the blame because some people have made a habit of abusing me. When we selected some players whom they didn’t like yet I knew they would perform, and indeed they did. They abused me,” Mugerwa started.
“Instead of abusing me or these players – you should have encouraged them – so that next time, they would achieve.
“We were the only team with the majority of players who had never had a World Cup experience. The other (15) teams had – including a country that had a player who was featuring in her fourth World Cup. We only had one professional player, but we challenged teams with full of professionals.”
Mary Nuba – who turns-up for Loughborough Lightning in the UK and Stella Nanfuka were the only players on the Ugandan squad who had remained on the team that took part at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool.
“People have been abusing the players; I have also been abused. I am sorry but I shouldn’t have said this but it hurts. (Imagine) a person of my age – I was once accused of sexually harassing these (She Cranes) girls but nobody ever produced evidence against me. I have been in netball for over 40 years; and in Sports for over 50 years….
“The (coaching) job I am doing was handed to me on merit; the person who appointed me gave me the job following an interview where I proved to be the best. And within a week, I proved a point in Namibia but the fighting went on,” fumed Mugerwa at the dinner.
He continued: “In 2022, the Commonwealth Games was a success, but the same people, many of whom are my friends continued fighting – up to now.”
Mugerwa then let it loose: “I have never received a single coin from Uganda Netball Federation – UNF; save for the Ugx500, 000 I got during the Namibian trip!
“But all time I encounter blames and abuses! I have a family with grandchildren but someone doesn’t consider such – tossing me up and down – moreover these are people I trained, the so-called coaches. I think enough is enough; maybe I may not renew my contract. I cannot be abused – yet I am unpaid. If I was (being) paid abused and paid – that would be understandable but I am just a volunteer.”
UNF Chief Executive Officer –CEO Francis Banya declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday, claiming that the matter was still a street talk.