For the second time in a row, Uganda netball national team, the She Cranes smiled to the podium as deserving African champions.
Like the She Cranes bravely and gallantly played at Lugogo Indoor Stadium during the 2017 edition, this time round, they were also unstoppable at the Olympic Youth Development Center in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.
In the previous two editions, Uganda won the championships unbeaten, with the players exhibiting sheer class, elegance, passion, determination, enthusiasm, physicality and the true character.
Credit to the perfect preparation amidst challenges of limited finances, the Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) has continued to defy all the odds and make it in style.
Unlike the 2017 victory, success in Zambia guaranteed Uganda a slot at next year’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.
In Zambia, Uganda scored an enviable total of 379 goals in six matches against 277 goals with convincing wins against Namibia (72-47), Malawi (51-46), neighbors Kenya (61-42), Botswana (65-35), hosts Zambia (64-56) and finally a 66-51 win over Zimbabwe in the last game.
Over the years, the Uganda Netball Federation has proved to the public that they have the capacity to plan, prepare the teams (underage and senior teams) as well as organize a tranquil league, which is a basis for granting players valuable playing time with their respective clubs.
Regardless of the inconsistencies and inadequacies suffered along the way, Netball has preserved and majestically withered all the stormy conditions to surge forward.
Long gone are the days that every Ugandan needs to forgot in a quick flash when the national team traveled over 6000KM by bus from Kampala to Malawi for an African championship with players surviving on the mercy of generous individuals for lunch and supper.
Netball has indeed evolved and moved on for the better after the turbulent times behind.
William Bwambale, the Vice President in charge of administration at UNF believes the sport has improved for the better but, still requires more funding.
We have fought a great battle. The struggle still continues. Government through the National Council of Sports needs to continue assisting the federation to fund its programmes.
For now, the focus and attention will definitely switch to the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool.
Preparations ought to start as early as September 2018 if Uganda is to register far convincing than the ones posted in the previous World Cup.
The 2018 World University Netball Championship will happen in Uganda (September 17th – 21st). This is good exposure for some of the talented young blood that could be used at next year’s World Cup.
Uganda is now a contender and a top challenger to the big dogs in the netball family. Countries as Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica and South Africa that have lived the test of time should be challenged for now.
The team needs more sponsors and partners on board to help in ensuring great preparations.
For the netball gurus at the helm of the sport, more ground work still needs to be done in luring sponsors to this game like the football, cricket and basketball associations.
Fine, with the Shs 5.4 billion insurance from NIC Holdings, arguably the biggest insurance sports sponsorship in the country, the She Cranes players can now play with one heart and give 110 percent without fear or favour.
With all the basics executed to the dot, it will not be shocking to witness Vincent Kiwanuka’s charges mesmerize the planet at the World Cup.
Uganda She Cranes Results at the 2018 Africa Netball Championship
- Uganda 66-51 Zimbabwe
- Zambia 56-64 Uganda
- Uganda 65-35 Botswana
- Uganda 61-42 Kenya
- Malawi 46-51 Uganda
- Namibia 47-72 Uganda
Uganda She Cranes team that won the 2018 African Championship
Players: Peace Proscovia (Captain), Halima Nakachwa, Racheal Nanyonga, Sylivia Nanyonga, Lilian Ajio, Mary Nubba, Betty Kizza, Stella Oyella, Joan Nampungu, Muhayimina Namuwaya, Mary Choloto, Ruth Meeme, Stellah Nanfuka
- Team Manager: Joseline Ucanda
- Assistant Team manager: Janate Nahanya
- Head Coach: Vicent Kiwanuka Kawooya
- Team Doctor: Steven Norman
- Course (C.O.F): Nelson Bogere
- Media: Emmanuel Ssekago
- Treasurer: Yusuf Kamulegeya