Cash-Strapped Bombers Hoping Against Hope

National team boxers, popularly known as The Bombers, are in dire need of financial and logistical support to sustain their residential camp training ahead of the Commonwealth Games due July 23 to August 3 in Glasgow Scotland.

The Bombers’ squad, comprising of ten boxers and four coaching staff members, has camped at Lugogo-based National Council of Sports hostel since June 22 but their preps could be disrupted due to limited resources in form of food, drinks and allowances.

Consequently, desperate Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) officials have issued an SOS to concerned offices and the general public to come to the team’s rescue. On Saturday, UBF spokesman Fred Kavuma explained the team’s predicament: “We are appealing for any support either in kind or money to survive for the next few days and accomplish our residential preps for the period as planned.

We are spending as much as Shs 300,000 per day on food, water, cooks and allowances for coaches.”

While visiting the pugilists’ camp on June 19, state minister for sports Charles Bakkabulindi ordered quick release of government funds for The Bombers to start residential camp preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Consequently, as Kavuma confirmed, UBF received Shs 2.5 million, which the federation has used to sustain the pugilists training on a shoestring budget for the past two weeks.

Kavuma explained further that they resolved to pay coaches’ allowances and convinced pugilists to be lenient as the federation looks for more money from other sources. Each boxer and coaching staff member gets an allowance of Shs 5,000 per day and Shs 70,000 as home upkeep while in residential camp.

Boxers Fazil Juma Kaggwa (light flyweight), Rogers Ssemitala (flyweight), Nassir Bashir (bantamweight), Bob Moses Asiya, Moses Mukiibi (lightweights), Tony Mukiibi (light welterweight), Amsi Ssemakula (welterweight), Geoffrey Nyeko (middleweight), Solomon Geko (light heavyweight) and Tony Ssekabembe (sheavyweight) constitute The Bombers’ squad currently in camp.

Head coach Dick Katende is being assisted by Oscar Binka (UPDF), Lola Kalyango (COBAP Nakulabye) and Charles Ssemakalu of Namuwongo-based Scorpion BC. Kavuma said they plan to trim the squad to five boxers on Thursday, July 10 and release the rest, but it will all depend on the availability of money to pay off their allowances.

“It’s a tricky situation for us because whoever is here expects to go back home with an envelope,” Kavuma said in reference to the boxers’ allowance arrears.

The Uganda Olympic Committee allocated seven slots to boxing, including five pugilists and two officials. Coach Katende and UBF boss Kenneth Gimugu will travel as officials.

Source : The Observer

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