Nine national team pugilists, popularly known as ‘The Bombers’, sealed their slots to the Africa Boxing championships after winning their selection trial bouts on Sunday at Lugogo indoor stadium arena.
Shadir Musa, Wasswa Ssali, Joshua Kizza, Geoffrey Kakeeto, Juma Miiro, Muzamir Kakande, Shafiq Kiwanuka, Yusuf Babu and Reagan Ssimbwa clinched their places.
At least two more pugilists, depending on logistics, are expected to complete the squad for the final team that will represent Uganda at the continental competition slated for May 27 to June 4 in Congo-Brazzaville.
However, as the championship draws nigh, the Bombers have a race against time to reach the ideal levels that can guarantee the country medals. One of the team’s coaches, Tony Ssekabira, said they are going to concentrate on speed and other technical aspects of the boxers in the remaining two weeks.
“The competition is so stiff in international boxing. And one of the key attributes needed to succeed at that level is speed,” Ssekabira said.
At last year’s AFBC in Cameroon, Uganda won two bronze medals, and none from the 2015 edition in Morocco. But Ssekabira charged: “We cannot still be boasting about what a good boxing nation we are, when we are not dominant in winning medals. We cannot still be talking about Justin Juuko and Godfrey Nyakana. That is the past.”
It is intriguing how candid Ssekabira was. But it also proved how serious he is alongside his coaching colleagues to return Uganda to its glory days. Those glory days will require a bunch of boxers, who can show energy and use their arms as frequently as needed.
Out-punching the opponent does not only help one outscore them, but it also helps weaken them.
Ssekabira said: “Our boxers need to improve on their scoring. It is not only by hitting the opponent’s head that you score points off them. Even punching them in the abdomen gets you closer to breaking their defence.”