By Charles Mutebi
National Basketball Team Programme
Zanzibar Independence Invitational tournament
Teams: Zanzibar, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda
THE national basketball team flew to Zanzibar yesterday and the players stand to receive $200 each. Life, as a member of Team Uganda, is getting better.
FUBA president Ambrose Tashobya and his friends in charge of Team Uganda have always maintained that representing the country should, first and foremost, be an honour for any basketball player.
Yet Tashobya and Team Uganda chairman Mohammed Santur also understand that it should be enjoyable and financially rewarding.
That is why Mandy Juruni and his team flew to the Zanzibar Invitational Independence tournament and both the coaches and players may receive as much as $200.
For such a tournament, such benefits are impressive.
The idea of flying the national basketball team for any tournament let alone an invitational like the one in Zanzibar was unheard of just three years ago.
The national men and women’s basketball teams travelled by road for the FIBA Africa Zone V Qualifiers in Rwanda in 2011 and the players received peanuts for their efforts.
But since the move in 2012 to put Team Uganda under a group of passionate benefactors led by Santur, the fortunes of the national players have radically improved and the Zanzibar tourna-ment is just further proof.
“The plan is to give them $200 dollars each, if we can scratch it between ourselves,” revealed Grace Kwizera, one of the Team Uganda directors. “If we fail, it will be less”.