Dungu's Cleaning Exercise Timely
Errant bomber: 'Zebra' Senyange.

Dungu's Cleaning Exercise Timely


The Ugandan boxing team already owns a dirty resume.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: June 23, 2007


When the Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation (UABF) president Rogers Dungu was campaigning for the top chair, one of the pledges in his manifesto was to clean up the game of boxing in Uganda. Very few took him seriously as it was widely interpreted as a vote winning gimmick - until recently when he started to bite. Last month, he disbanded the national boxing team, the Bombers, in camp at Lugogo with just a few hours to the start of the African Boxing Championship in Antanarivo, Madagascar. The main reason for this was indiscipline.


The Bombers had earlier gone on strike protesting the quality of food that their camp cook was giving them. Before that, team captain Isaac Ssenyange (popularly known as Zebra) despite being the most experienced pugilist on the team and one supposed to lead by example, displayed awkward behavior when he defied the orders of his bosses and fled from the camp to attend the P-Square (Nigerian singing outfit) concert at Ggaba Beach Hotel.

All this propelled Dungu to come up with the brave disciplinary measure of disbanding the camp, pardoning only three youngsters: Kampala Boxing Club's Sharif Bogere, bantam weight Atanus Mugerwa and Fred Muhumuza who managed to hand in their apologies.

Among the erring players that faced Dungu's wrath were the experienced quartet of Zebra Ssenyange, feather weight John Kato, welter weight Michael Obin, KCC Boxing Club fighter Matia Kulabako, Charles Muwanga, Asuman Katende from UPDF Boxing Club and fly weight Migadde Sserunjoji. The Federation has gone ahead to slap a ban on these players to stop them from participating in any locally organized tournament.

Some observers however put it that UABF used this as a scapegoat since they were short of funds to take the team through the championship. Dungu rubbishes it though. Whatever the case, the truth remains that the action was timely as for long, Ugandan boxers have exhibited poor discipline. Without discipline, you will never prosper any where, a lot has been said but I did this for the good of the game in Uganda, I will continue cleaning up boxing in Uganda until we are back to where we used to be and should stay, discipline wise, vows Dungu.

For a while now, boxing in Uganda has been associated with illiteracy, use of narcotic drugs and theft among other vices. With Dungu determined to change the face of Ugandan boxing, Uganda may once again regain its glory as the most feared boxing power house on the black man's continent.

The Ugandan boxing team already owns a dirty resume. In 2004 during their Athens Olympic qualifiers, egged on by Kampala tycoon Mike Ezra, the Bombers led by their team captain Joseph fled and traveled for over 400 kilometers from their residential camp in Kasese back to Kampala complaining that the camp coordinator John Kasaija was mistreating them. For that incident, they were handled with kid gloves and made it to Athens. Some, like Sam Rukundo and Lubega reaped big as their dreams of joining the paid ranks ccme true after that exposure.

This recent incident should be a lesson to the culprits that it's not Dungu or Uganda that are losing but the players themselves. The trio of Mugerwa, Bogere and Muhumuza that survived the recent axe returned from Madagascar with bronze medals implying an automatic qualification for the World Boxing Championship in Chicago later this year. Most of the 'victims' need to be reminded that their age is waving bye-bye to their chances of success and that if they are to emulate the likes of Justin Juuko and Kassim Ouma and realize something from their sweat, they had better behave.

Vaccination is far better than cure. Dungu therefore deserves praise for his brave decision and this will surely set an immaculate future for the Bombers. Bravo, Bravo 'Presdo' Dungu.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: June 23, 2007
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Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.