By Oladimeji Loko:
No Nigerian boxer will feature at the next AIBA World Boxing Championships scheduled for Hamburg, Germany from August 25 to September 2 after Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF) bungled the opportunity to pick qualifying slots at the just concluded African Boxing Championships in Brazzaville, Congo, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
NBF amazingly neglected to present its own boxers for boxing’s premier tournament next only to the Olympics, but rather gave up Nigeria’s slot at the championships to the Nigerian Army team.
The army seized the opportunity to probably use it to expose its boxing team to top notch competition even though most of them wouldn’t have made the Nigerian team if the NBF had prepared for the tourney.
The team of seven boxers made up of both male and female came up short at the competition with non of the boxers making the qualifying cut, which is getting to the semi final stage.
Caroline Linus, a female boxer, the only recognized name on the team was knocked off at the quarter final stage of her 51kg, Fly weight category.
The result was even more shocking because Linus was a silver medal winner at the Africa games in Brazzaville in 2015. She also narrowly missed qualifying for the Rio2016 Olympics after losing out in the finals of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Cameroun last year.
Other members of the team are Ambrose Godwin heavyweight, Agowa Richard light heavyweight. Others are Godwin Okosyn middle weight, Umeh Osita welter weight and Lawal Rilwan Owolabi light weight.
While the other female member of the team was Yetunde Odunuga who competed in the lightweight category.
NBF’s chief coach Tony Konyegwachi confirmed he was aware of the AFBC championships last week but didn’t attend with any of his boxers. He refused to speak further on the issue when Completesportsnigeria.com told him a boxing team from the country was in Congo competing in the name of Nigeria.
“You may need to confirm the story elsewhere, I’m in Nigeria, I’m not In Congo,” he said curtly.
A former boxing captain to 2004 Olympics in Athens, Ganiu Muideen reacting to the development claimed it was not the first time the NBF would trade off Nigeria’s place at the world championship, a development he believes calls for concern.
“I don’t know what is going on with the board, the sports ministry need to look into the activities of some people at the secretariat, such things will never happen in developed world. How can just any team travel out in the name of the country to championships.
“If they (NBF) have no money to have a team represent Nigeria, is it not better that we don’t attend at all,” the 2003 Africa games medalist who is now a fitness trainer in the United States queried.
“They are wasting the opportunities of up-coming boxers who deserve a chance for a break by trading up their space,” Muideen said from his base in Las Vagas on Monday.