KAMPALA- Former African gold medalist Abdul Tebazaalwa, is doubtful of the Bombers medal potential at the All-Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Starting tomorrow, the eight Ugandan boxers (two women) will begin their medal hunt and the ultimate harvest will be known August 29. But Tebazaalwa, who alongside Muhammad Kizito won gold at the 1999 edition in South Africa, doubts the Bombers’ quality, their training, and their medal chances henceforth.
That no Ugandan boxer has ever won gold at the Games in 20 years, Tebazaalwa said, is a sign of decline of Ugandan boxing.
“If the level of competition in All-Africa boxing is no longer as tight, Uganda shall win medals, otherwise my hopes are low because our boxers are not given proper training,” Tebazaalwa told Daily Monitor Saturday.
“Coaching boxing isn’t determined by Aiba certification, rather what you did and what you can demonstrate to your trainee. Many people coaching the national team currently have Aiba certification but were habitual losers and some are ridiculed by boxers.”
The outspoken Tebazaalwa said coaches must first correct the mistakes that failed them as boxers, citing his mentor Stephen Aciga Fula as an example: “Aciga didn’t make it as a boxer, didn’t get the chance to be trained well, because his parents wanted him to concentrate on academics. But as a coach he had the urge to learn and correct his mistakes. He read a lot, researched, took lots of notes, paid attention to detail and that’s how he nurtured champions like me. But others don’t admit their weaknesses and cannot correct them.”
Tebazaalwa added that a national coach should not coach any club. Rather, he should time to time visit clubs, select the best boxers, train them as club coaches learn from his methods. “Even in national camps, club coaches should be learning from him, not giving parallel instructions, like the case nowadays.”
He also urged boxers to invest in self-improvement. “I was lucky to train in some of the best boxing environments, in Australia, and since then my boxing changed a lot. But I also invested a lot in buying equipment: basketballs, shoes, hiring gym time, and worked hard. Don’t expect much from coaches. Look for knowledge on the internet, know what you want.”
BOMBERS PAST RECORD
1999: year Uganda last won boxing gold in All-Africa Games
2003: 2 bronze
2007: no medal