By David Namunyala
UGANDA’S netball team, the She Cranes, overcame their financial troubles to qualify for the 2015 World Cup for the first time since 1979.
The national team, that left for the weeklong tournament last Thursday with only $240 (sh600,000), ignored their financial woes, to represent the country with distinction.
She Cranes’ 51-38 win over Swaziland yesterday earned Uganda a direct ticket to the World Cup due August next year in Sydney, Australia.
The She Cranes’ success in the Africa Netball World Cup Qualifiers in Gaborone, Botswana is also the biggest achievement that Uganda has ever registered in a team event.
Of course, Uganda won the 2007 Africa Rugby Nations Cup. But that does not compare to representing the country at the biggest showpiece.
And yet all this success would have slipped the country had the She Cranes not gambled their way to Botswana.
The She Cranes, who play Namibia tomorrow in their final match, battled through the sizzling heat in Gabarone without even basic requirements like water.
Team manager Jocelyn Ucanda and Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) president Annek Susan Ongom travelled to Botswana yesterday with sh45m secured from the sports ministry.
But that will be used to offset the team’s accomodation and feeding bills. The She Cranes’ four victories propelled them to eight points at the top of the round robin event table.
Against Swaziland yesterday, Uganda’s dependable shooter Peace Proscovia was back to her usual best.
Proscovia (28 goals), Hadijah Nakabuye (17 goals) and Annet Nakiwu (6 goals) inspired Uganda to glory.
The top two teams from Gaborone will join Malawi and South Africa in the world event scheduled for August 7-16th.
And apart from Uganda who have already booked themselves a slot, the quest now remains between Botswana and Zambia to determine who will take the remaining slot.
Uganda launched their bid with a victory over Zambia before edging Zimbabwe, Botswana and Swaziland.
Uganda first appeared at a similar event in 1979 in Trinidad and Tobago.