Bombers head coach Dick Katende is positive the boxers in camp are in good shape and have the potential to return Uganda to its glorious days, a week to the to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
In an exclusive interview before Friday’s evening training session at Lugogo Indoor Stadium, the veteran coach told Daily Monitor, there is tremendous improvement in speed and technic.
Uganda’s last Commonwealth medal in boxing was a bronze, won by Martin Mubiru in 2006, Melbourne. The Bombers missed the 2010 Delhi edition due to administrative wrangles.
There is, therefore, a glaring hunger for recognition in a game that has won the nation more medals than any other.
What are Uganda’s chances then?
“A hungry hunter, always, has the urge for a kill. It is the spirit we are instilling in the boys and interestingly, they know the task awaiting them. They exude that hunger and the killer instinct,” Katende observed.
Team captain Rogers Ssemitala, 18, embodies that spirit like no other. He reiterates that as a leader he has to be exemplary not only by conduct but also by performance. ”I have to lead my teammates in restoring Uganda’s glory. We have what it takes, technically, and with God’s grace, nothing is impossible”.
The coach however declined to drop names on who the he thinks the country’s medal hopefuls are, saying from a technical point of view, it kills the morale in the camp.
Katende’s illustrious career has seen him handle various national teams and he admits that the only shortcoming of the current team is inexperience.
“It is relatively a young team,” he said. To most, Glasgow is going to be their first outing yet the likes of (Godfrey) Nyakana, (Justin) Jjuuko, (Joseph) Lubega, Mubiru had participated in several tournaments, and had garnered the necessary experience.
Regarding team selection, Katende explains that all the national champions were beaten and, deservedly, eliminated during the national trials. Michael Ssekabembe is the only exception. This follows complaints that some were unfairly dropped for losers.