Dick was not a happy man by yesterday. Dick could still be far from a smile even today, unless something has given way and he is on a plane to Italy.
Dick Katende was, of course, happy to travel with the national boxing team – the Bombers – to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland where two boxing bronze medals were collected.
But the veteran coach, Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) and the country had to collectively endure embarrassment as the Games officials, or rather rules, denied Katende access to the ringside to conduct his duties.
As we know, it is no longer breaking news that Katende was barred from ringside because he was not a three-star coach, the minimum coaching qualification for the Games.
Even more embarrassing is that Katende, UBF and Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) knew the rules even before boarding the plane to Glasgow.
“We knew and we wrote to UBF about it,” Ambrose Tashobya, the head of the Ugandan delegation to the Games and UOC vice president told Daily Monitor recently, “But they assured us that the matter was under control.
“By the time we realised what they were saying was not true it was too late to make any changes. As you saw, we had to rely on our friends from Kenya and Nigeria for help by the ringside.
“I’m very sure if Dick Katende had been by the ringside, we would have also claimed gold in boxing.”
That Uganda did not have a three-star rated coach was fruits of years of wrangles back home that saw the country’s most successful sport internationally miss out on not just several global events, but the classification of coaches.
Now here is a chance for Katende to do an Aiba coaches course that runs from tomorrow to next Friday in Siracusa, Italy.
The course would equip Katende with the required certification to coach in all international boxing events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Series of Boxing, among others.
It would also see him be eligible for Rio 2016. But blimey! He cannot raise Shs8m for the trip having paid for the visa from his own pockets.
UBF were by yesterday still in a hopeful world that they will have heard from the National Council of Sports – who oversee sports federations on behalf of the Ministry – and UOC yet Katende should be out of the country like yesterday.
The boxing body had earlier in a recommendation letter to a potential sponsor of the boxer made it clear to him that they were “not in position to meet the budget costs.
UOC president William Blick also reiterated that government had promised to sponsor all such programs. “We can only offer one ticket in that regard,” he said.
Now, to the ministry, NCS, UBF and perhaps UOC why do we always have to wait for the agonizing final straight?
FUBA, MTN, AIRTEL HAVE NO OPTION BUT WORK TOGETHER
While we are at it, the quiet storm that is the MTN Arena – the beautiful stadium that sits atop the Lugogo sports hub – refuses to calm.
Still the Airtel National Basketball League (ANBL)raves to have their first game of the 2014 season at the Arena refurbished by MTN in 2010.
Still MTN’s heavy branding, well catered for in their MoU with National Council of Sports (NCS) entered in January 2009, abounds. To many, some clauses in this MoU could have been better – most notably branding rights to which MTN has unlimited control.
But since Daily Monitor broke down for you the entire stand-off between Fuba on one side, MTN on the other, NCS the middle men, and Airtel caught in-between the sponsorship daggers there has been some progress, or it has been seen to be.
Of course basketball lovers, who in their mind are very sure it is because of MTN, or the telecom company legal boss Anthony Katamba, who some accuse of directly being the stumbling block, responsible for their beloved league being played out of the arena. They have since started a hash-tagged #BringBackOurArena campaign on social media.
But the committee since tasked by NCS chairman Bosco Onyik to meet concerned parties regarding a possible review of the contentious MoU has also been at it and is expected to hand over their report to him next Monday.
In some of their findings that I’m privy to, MTN breached nothing in the MoU by emphatically branding the entire arena to the detriment of Fuba, who annoyed MTN by shifting allegiance to their current sponsors Airtel. But as expected, the committee acknowledges that had NCS and MTN been clear on percentages of branding the former were entitled to we would not have travelled this unromantic journey.
It is also understood that in the committee’s consultations with MTN, the telecom company, or Katamba, mainly has issue with how the Fuba president Ambrose Tashobya approached the whole affair, with the latter also holding similar sentiments.
It is because of those egos the matter escalated. But that should not divert us from the fact that reloaded branding early this year thanks to the contentious clauses in the MoU (the league was played in the arena last season) was the elephant that hurt the grass
The encouraging news for the basketball fraternity is that through those consultations, whose details will be released in the report possibly on Monday, MTN is ready and willing to work out a way with rival sponsors and NCS.
But Fuba have to first officially petition NCS their grievances on MTN’s overzealous branding, which Katamba earlier told us they did because their branding was last season being covered in breach of agreements in the MoU.
It is from there that NCS and all parties involved will sit and forge a way of negotiating the branding to an effect that companies like Airtel will be able to cover parts of MTN branding during games, or the latter reducing their branding on some of the areas like seats. At the end of the day, the issue is having the basketball topflight league back in the arena, not fighting. And come to think of it, all involved have no option but to work together.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor