30 April 2013

Uganda: Riff-Raffs Cannot Lead Boxing


LOCAL boxing body UBF is finally paying attention to education. It has realized that while the bulk of its fighters can hardly read or write, it urgently needs refined administrators.

It's for that reason that the federation elections that were due Saturday had to be postponed indefinitely. Sources close to the returning officer reveal that the bulk of academic papers presented by the candidates were lacking.

While there might be complaints about the delay, I am one of those who believe that the extension is good. It gives time to search for administrators with solid credentials.

There can't be a better trend. One outstanding fact of Uganda's golden era in boxing in the sixties and seventies was the high calibre of administrators.

Father Damien Grimes a headmaster at Namilyango and later Namasagali College, Uganda Tea Corporation's chief executive Jack Edwards, Uganda Employers Federation boss Allan Rhodes, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Francis Nyangweso and police chief Kyefulumya (Police) were some of the people in charge of the sport.

These were not riff ruffs desperate for employment but proven administrators out to selflessly serve the sport. They also had the connections to ensure that boxers not only went to school, but were also later employed.

But as the search for the right leaders continues, election organisers UOC should also ensure that the ground is level. Part of the problems we have previously had in this sport have been a result of flawed electoral processes.

Then, like true sportsmen, whoever loses when the elections are finally held, should be ready to accept to work with the new president. The current crisis can partly be attributed to losers not accepting defeat.

A lot has been lost that we simply can't afford any more feuds. It's time the federation graduated from boardroom fights to actual competition in the ring.

Boxing is too fertile a sector to be in anarchy. All we need in place are the right structures and Uganda could be on course to regaining its status as a boxing giant.

Like I have always said for athletics, a country with the capacity to produce a John Akii-Bua should be able to churn out more world record breakers.

Likewise in boxing, the likes of Ayub Kalule, Boza Edwards, Kassim "The Dream" Ouma and John "The Beast" Mugabi did not punch their way to world titles by accident. Uganda, like Cuba, has strong boxing genes.

What we need is a person who can lead the crusade to awaken these genes.

So, let's all work towards identifying the right administrators.

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