By James Bakama
UGANDA'S U-12 table tennis team has been detained in Nairobi for failure to clear a $1800 (sh4.5m) hotel bill.
The bill accumulated after a team of four children and two officials failed to pay for a week’s accommodation at the Nairobi Parklands Hotel.
“We have surrendered our passports to the hotel management and we shall in a short while be recording statements at police,” said team coach Jude Mutete.
Uganda table Tennis Association President Dennis Galabuzi yesterday brushed off the controversy as an issue that would be sorted. He promised to clear it with the world table tennis body ITTF.
But Mutete has revealed that by this morning there was no response from ITTF or the Africa body ATF. “So the hotel decided to take action,” desperate Mutete explained.
The team travelled to Kenya for the Africa U-12 Hopes Week and Challenge, a programme that comprised of training and competition.
It has ended today with 11 year old Ugandans Rodney Semata and Irene Nekesa winning slots to the global version on the Africa meet in Slovenia in June.
This was after the Ugandans exceled in a competition that also had Kenya and Nigeria. Kelly Ayikoru and Daphne Akol are the other players on the team that is led by Ronnie Serulya.
The team’s return home has consequently been disrupted. “We had booked to depart today but that might not be possible. We are even more worried of the resultant costs from another booking,” noted Mutete.