Thursday, July 5, 2007
UGANDAN CHESS TEAM TO ALL AFRICAN GAMES STRANDED
The 9th All-Africa Games will take place in July 11-23 2007 in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria. CHESS is a medal sport for the second time after Abuja in 2003. drama has already started with Ugandan team getting stranded.
With the first batch of the Ugandan contingent leaves on Wednesday, the national chess team is until now not sure of its participation in the 9th All Africa Games set for July 11 to 23 in Algiers, Algeria
Uganda Chess Federation (UCF) had handed in a team of six players to Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) but was told the sport had not been included in the Games' budget.
UOC president Francis Nyangweso had disclosed last week that chess had been dropped due to several technicalities.
The chess team cannot comprise of less than six players at the continental showpiece and it's not clear whether government will raise enough funds to cater for all of them.
"Every player plays for six hours, so it's technically impossible for us to send less than six people," UCF general secretary Godfrey Gali, who also intends to play in Algeria, was quoted by Daily Monitor on Tuesday as saying.
Other members of the team are Shadrack Kantinti, Moses Kawuma, Harold Wanyama, Bob Bibasa and John Kikonyogo.
UCF officials opted to look for private sponsorship, a move that had also hit a dead end.
"We tried our best to look for sponsorship but it was too late.It's very hard to approach a sponsor on short notice and expect positive results," said Gali.
UCF then appealed to the sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi, whom they met Monday evening but little success was registered.
"We've just been in a meeting with the sports minister but he told us to come back tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. But since he is the minister, we are very confident something good will come out,"Gali said.
"I am meeting them again tomorrow (Tuesday) and hope a solutioncan be reached. At the moment I am doing my best to make sure theytravel," said Bakkabulindi, who will be heading Uganda's delegation to the Games.
Uganda is sending its biggest ever contingent of 70 to the biennial games with government paying allowances and accommodationfor 32 athletes and 22 air tickets.