I have never been paid - Fred Mugerwa threatens to resign

She Cranes coach Fred Mugerwa at the podium flanked by his backroom staff at Serena Hotel.

NETBALL I have never been paid - Fred Mugerwa threatens to resign

Moses King 22:27 - 07.08.2023

Fred Mugerwa, the head coach of Uganda's women's senior netball team, the She Cranes, has issued a strong ultimatum regarding his future with the team.

Speaking at the grand reception held at the Serena Hotel in Kampala on August 7, Mugerwa shifted the celebratory atmosphere to a more somber tone.

The occasion marked the return of the team from the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, where Uganda had an impressive performance, securing Africa's top spot and ranking fifth globally.

Standing before a gathering that included the sports minister, Peter Ogwang, Mugerwa took a forthright stance and openly aired his deep-seated frustrations since assuming the role of head coach two years prior.

"To me I think, enough is enough," he said before adding, "I may not renew my contract. It is on a bitter note because I cannot be abused and not paid. If was being paid, I would say it's bacuase I am being paid but I am a volunteer."

He pointed out the consistent barrage of criticism and verbal abuse directed at him on social media.

She Cranes' Fred Mugerwa (middle) talking to his team during the quarter break against Malawi in their World Cup encounter

"Everytime I go on social media, it is blames and abuses (sic). I have a family, grandchildren and some of these people are people that I trained; the so-called coaches."

Mugerwa disclosed that despite his dedicated service, he has yet to receive any remuneration from the Uganda Netball Federation, except for a meager sum of Shs500,000 received upon their return from Namibia in 2021.

"I have never received a cent from the netball federation save for the Shs500,000 I got from Namibia," he said.

Reflecting on his tenure, Mugerwa noted that his challenges began soon after he assumed the role of She Cranes coach two years ago.

"The person who appointed me did that because I did the interview and I proved to them that I was the best person to handle the team.Within two weeks, we went to Namibia in 2021 and performed very well."

"People talked, people fought me and I continued working.In 2022, we went to Commonwealth Games, still the same people fighting up to now."

The national team

The She Cranes players celebrate with the Ugandan flag after defeating South Africa 49-47 to finish fifth at the 2023 Netball World Cup

Commending the national team for their accomplishments, Mugerwa defended his selection of players, which had been met with skepticism.

"People started blaming me when I selected people whom I thought personally would do the work, which they did!"

"Next time, instead of abusing these girls,please encourage them," he advised.

He revealed that some people accused him of sexual harassment but could not back up their claims with evidence.

The She Cranes, led by goalkeeper, Haniisha Muhameed, make their way to the arena ahead of their official warm-up

"I was one time accused of sexually harassing these girls but nobody has ever come up with proof", he said adding; "I have been in netball for over 40 years. I have been in sports for over 50 years."

Mugerwa implored the government to invest in sports infrastructure, emphasizing Uganda's potential to outshine global rivals if provided with proper facilities.

"If we had the facilities, we would be number one in the world."

"The talent is there but you cannot compete with somebody who is playing on a springboard and you're on the tarmac in Kamwokya; that's why most of these girls have injuries."

Mugerwa, in his closing remarks, expressed gratitude to the government and sponsors for the support.