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Uganda Cranes facing cash crisis ahead of Nations Cup

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The Uganda Cranes are facing a financial crisis as they embark on their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Gabon – their first appearance at the finals in 39 years.

Decolas Kiiza, the Uganda Football Association’s head of Finance, told BBC Sport they are still waiting for a cash-advance which the Ugandan government had promised to give them.

Kiiza claims the money is vital to help the Cranes in their preparations and then at the tournament itself.

“We made a budget of US$2,122,909 and after consultations and meetings with officials from the Ministry of Education and Sport and the National Council of Sports, the budget was slashed to US$1,226,855. But that money has not come as yet,” said Kiiza.

He says they have had to fund the team from the FA’s own limited resources to help keep Uganda on track with their training schedule.

They have a trip to Tunisia on Friday for an international friendly before heading to the United Arab Emirates for an eight-day training camp, followed by two other warm-up matches against Slovakia and then the African champions Ivory Coast.

“We call upon the government to come in quickly to help the situation because we want to send a very strong and well motivated team,” added Kiiza.

The Federation has also had to make an advance payment to fund the team kits so that each player can have six jerseys.

Charles Bakkabulindi, the State Minister for Sports, told the BBC that the FA will have to wait for their advance until the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni – who is also the First Lady – has responded to the budget details which he has forwarded to her.

The Uganda Cranes will be in Group D alongside Egypt, Ghana and Mali for the 2017 Nations Cup and will be based in Port Gentil for the event which runs from 14 January to 5 February.

Uganda is the only country that qualified for Gabon 2017 from the Council for East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) region and the Cranes are also still in contention for a place at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

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