Funding dispute hampers Uganda’s Africa boxing championship preps

Owen Kibira (blue) punches Mathias Kyeyune in the boxing Champions League

BOXING Funding dispute hampers Uganda’s Africa boxing championship preps

Shafic Kiyaga 07:34 - 22.06.2023

Pulse Sports understands that the Boxing federation has not yet received funds of up to UGX 800 million as part of its budget for the FY 2022/23 which remains on the NCS accounts.

With just 33 days to the start of the Africa Boxing Championship in Cameroon, Uganda’s participation remains uncertain, as lack of funding continues to stifle the team’s preparations.

The Bombers were sure of not making the trip to Yaounde for the competition before it was pushed back from its initial dates of June 13 to 25, 2023 to July 25.

While the postponement allowed the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) more time to prepare the Bombers, the team is yet to start preps, as the stand off between UBF and the National Council of Sports continues.

Pulse Sports understands that the Boxing federation has not yet received funds of up to UGX 800 million as part of its budget for FY 2022/23 which remain on the NCS accounts.

“We definitely want to participate in the championship, but that will depend on when we get the money from the National Council of Sports,” UBF president Moses Muhangi told Daily Monitor.

“NCS has our UGX 800m for this financial year (2022-23) but just days to the end of the financial year, we haven’t received the money.”

With time running out on the preparation window, UBF is also running out of patience and options, and might decide to pull the plug on taking under prepared boxers if funding is not realized.

It is understood that there is a prior instruction from sports minister Peter Ogwang instructing NCS to release funds to UBF, but that could not be substantiated as NCS general secretary did not heed to our calls for an interview.

Funding to UFB was halted as the federation suffered audit queries after an audit report discovered discrepancies in their financial report for the 2021/2022 financial year, with funds unaccounted for.

The situation led to the arrest of UBF president Moses Muhangi, who spent two weeks on remand at Luzira Prison on charges of forging budget documents, before he was granted bail last month.

Despite these obstacles, UBF had managed to navigate around the soft deadline for confirming participation by submitting a squad of 23 fighters for the competition.

The team includes notable boxers such as Yusuf Nkobeza, who won bronze in the middleweight category at the 2022 championship, and Jonathan Kyobe, who also achieved bronze in the featherweight category in Maputo.

Other talented boxers like Isaac 'Zebra' Ssenyange and Teddy Nakimuli, a bronze medalist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, are part of the squad.

Muzamiru Ssemuddu, Mubiru Derrick, Mukiibi Edris, Owen Kibira, Ukasha Matovu, and Shaluwa Ndagire were also included on the team.

The Bombers' previous success at the Africa Boxing Championships, where they clinched two bronze medals in Maputo, Mozambique, raises hopes for another strong showing.

The Africa Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships total prize money has been doubled from $500,000 in Maputo, Mozambique last year to $1000,000 at the event this year.

At the Yaoundé event, gold medallists will pocket $20,000, silver $10,000 and $5,000 for the two bronze medalists.

It's worth recalling that in Maputo, two Ugandans; Yusuf Nkobeza and Jonah Kyobe won bronze and bagged $2500 (about Shs9m) each, in prize money as a result.