Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Boxing - Obisia Offers Panacea for Development

Mass failure of Nigeria's boxing contingent at the London 2012 Olympic Games is still eliciting comments. One of such has come from a national coach sidelined from the team prior to the Games, Obisia Nwakpa.

Nwakpa, has not only expressed anger at the down-turn of boxing in the country but has categorically said there must be a re-orietation and change in the value system for amateur boxing to be revived and sustained to the level it was in the 1960's and 1970's.

Besides alluding to the National Sports Festival as a tool be used, the former national, African and Commonwealth super-lightweight champion suggested that the country must design and adopt a national system peculiar to Nigeria alone, saying it was the reason Cuba has ruled the world in amateur boxing.

"We shall continue to wallow until we come together and agree on a boxing system to use against the rest of the world. Nigerian coaches can design it and make it work. Americans have their own way, Russians have theirs, likewise the Kenyans and all those who do well these days in international competitions.

"And we have to put to an end the idea of importing foreigners to handle our boxers because it's a pure waste of resources. I think there are enough qualified Nigerians to do the work if they have the opportunity with free hand and enough incentives," he said.

Nwakpa, who had a shot at the world title in the professional rank but fell short of achieving his target said the sports festival should be fully utilised as instrument for recharging the system so as to discover new athletes, harness and groom them for international events.

He also opined that no foreign coach, Cuban or not, can come and revive the country's boxing, stressing "it is only Nigerians who can do it if we agree, that is with good funding and support from the authorities who are expected to make available, facilities and equipment".

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