KAMPALA- Having touched down at Entebbe Airport a few minutes to 3am Tuesday, Coach Muhammad Hassan’s team of nine boxers and three assistant trainers could not hide their pride after winning gold and two silver medals at the African Confederation Boxing Championship in Congo-Brazzaville.
Six of the nine did not go beyond the quarterfinals but welterweight Muzamir Kakande won gold while super heavy David Ayiti, and bantamweight Geoffrey Kaketo won silver apiece to break Uganda’s 13-year jinx of never reaching a final of a major tournament since 2004 Aiba Africa Olympics qualifiers.
The record-breaking trio directly qualified for the World Championships in Hamburg, Germany and amid the celebrations the Bombers promised to do even better.
“I can’t express my pleasure enough for this gold, it’s a product of hard work and I promise you this is just the beginning,” said Kakande, the new African welterweight champion. “I need to win more medals.”
Ayiti, who was knocked out by Cameroon’s Arsene Foko Fosso in the final assured us: “I went into the final with an injury but I feel I’m the next African champion and I must work for that gold.” The camera-shy Kaketo shares Ayiti’s ambitions.
Middleweight Yusuf Babu who still rues biased officiating against Egypt’s double-Olympian Hossam Hussein Bakr Abdin, admits the event gave him the exposure and experience with the cream of the continent. “We all feel victorious because we gave it our best and we must show the world that we are made of more.”
Captain Musa Shadir, who lost to Namibia’s eventual gold medallist, joined the pledge list “Despite the loss, I still have big dreams and I won’t rest until I achieve them.”