Ugandans in Olympiad Crisis!

Wanyama Harold (Uganda)

After months of desparately trying to raise funds and attend the Olympiad, players on the Ugandan side are without visas to travel. Only two players have been able to secure a visa, but the team forfeited for failing to field 50% of the team. They have missed the first three rounds and are seeking help with the matter. Here is an appeal from Wanyama Harold written to ChessBase:

HELP

Dear ChessBase, I am Wanyama Harold, a Ugandan chess national player supposed to represent Uganda at the Olympiad. I once wrote an article for ChessBase about our trip to Germany. Well, this time we are stuck in Uganda as we cannot get our visas. This is because the organisers of the Olympiad have failed to send the Germany Embassy in Uganda a letter inviting us. I am told the officials are not responding as quickly as possible, and time is running out, as we have missed three games as I write this. I am appealing to you to help us to get the attention of the officials to work as quickly as possible, as you carry some weight in the chess circles.

This problem has persisted for African nations and has also affected Nigeria and Ethiopia. These cases were reported here. This entire visa episode has been a complete disaster and does not reflect well on Germany, FIDE and chess. It is a disgrace that in the season of the Olympiad, African nations are still requesting simple invitations.

Mr. Harold had penned a beautiful photo essay for ChessBase about chess in Uganda which included the excitement of the Olympiad trials. Ironically, the Ugandan team made a trip to Forcheim, Germany and met with the mayor in a formal event! Was all this for naught??

Ugandan chess delegation on a 2005 trip to Forcheim, Germany.

Ugandan chess delegation on a 2005 trip to Forcheim, Germany.
Photo by Wanyama Harold.

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

7 Comments

  1. These snubs happen on the regular.

    One of the most egregious snubs was during the 2004 Olympiad. Place seatings were not arranged for African federations for the FIDE General Assembly meeting (usually alphabetical arrangement). When Nizar El-Haj (Continental President at the time) started shouting, chairs were brought in a placed in the back for the African members. When will these omissions stop?

  2. Update! Moses Kawuma sent me the following message:

    hi daaim,
    the german embassy has denied our 2 players (wanyama harold and kantinti shadrack) visas but i talked to the officials and they said they are going to call the german embassy in uganda tomorrow and see that our players get here

  3. Until FIDE gives more appropriate attention to the challenges that the African chess players face with respect to AT LEAST attendance
    at olympiads it cannot be taken seriously as a true global sporting body.

  4. Hi Daaim,
    I do not know if the problem is related but Zambia also only has 2 players participating. They are Amon Simutowe and Daniel Jere.

  5. Pieter,

    I have e-mailed Simutowe, but haven’t gotten a response yet. It is most probably a visa issue. He cannot be too happy to play with two players since it means he will be losing the matches and will not get to play the strongest players.

    Report coming!

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