Every time a Ugandan team travels to Europe there are worries not all the members will return home. Worries of disappearance are even worse when the contingent involves boxers and cricket players.
The Ugandan team at the Commonwealth Games has five boxers and its possible some of them might be tempted to stay in this part of the world to seek greener pastures. The fears have been heightened by reports that two Cameroonian wrestlers vanished from their team’s training camp in Aberdeen last week.
“I know it’s possible for something like that to happen but we have done everything to avoid the embarrassment that comes with disappearance acts,” Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) president Kenneth Gimugu told Daily Monitor. “Even before we came, I told my boxers not to think about something like that. The future of boxing is now bright and they know that. In case they do well here, they stand a chance to compete in the World Series of Boxing,” he added. “The series should start later this year with the excelling boxers being signed up by European franchise sides.”
While Gimugu has done the pep talk, coach Dick Katende is not taking any chances. He jealously keeps guard of his fighters.
At Dubai International Airport where the team spent several hours in transit last Monday, Katende moved with his boxers from corner to corner.
In the Games Village where they are currently staying, the coach is constantly seen moving with his boys. “It’s not that I am worried about them disappearing,” Katende explained. “Keeping with them is one way of fostering team spirit. I want to keep them together and encourage team bonding. “But of course, like you can see, there are many distractions here. There are many beautiful girls and the like so I must watch over my boys.”
Gimugu further explained that delaying to name the final team for the Games was another way of foiling any disappearance plans. “We carefully selected our team. We know all the boys here are too disciplined to think of escaping,” the boxing boss, who is trying to rebuild the sport ruined by administrative wrangles that lasted six years, stated.
During the 2007 World Boxing Championships in Chicago, Uganda lost two of the most promising amateurs with Sharif Bogere and Phillip Adyak escaping from the team hotel. Bogere has since turned professional in America. Before them, Kassim Ouma had vanished in USA in 1997.