Uganda's Bombers Promise to Write History in Ugandan Boxing
Tactician: We are in Cairo for the medals
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First published: April 13, 2007
The likes of Martin Mubiru and Abdul Tebazalwa might have left amateur boxing to join the professional ranks but the national tactician Kent Musa describes the current breed of Uganda's boxing team, The Bombers (which is always made up of amateur boxers) as one to reckon with. Musa made the comment shortly before the team's departure for Cairo, Egypt for the African Zone V African Boxing Championship that gets underway on Friday this week.
A contingent of 11 pugilists in the new Bombers team is promising Ugandans earth and heaven. Their tactician is optimistic that despite the inexperience of some of his boys, nothing will impede his team from returning home victorious. Save for team captain 'Zebra' Ssenyange, and the two Michaels (light fly Sserunjogi and welter weight Obin), the rest of the Bombers are below 23 years of age and are making their debut into this regional and prestigious championship. "The majority might not posses enough experience but with the skills and determination in these boys, the sky will be the limit for Uganda", boasts the veteran tactician who has just taken over the national responsibility from Dick Katende.
Musa, also the UPDF (army) Boxing Club coach, further reveals that his fighters are in the right shape to handle any opponent. "We had enough training and facilitation, all the boys are in magnificent form, ready to take on any one. So don't be surprised when we come back home with 11 medals out of the 11 possible", Musa boasted.
The pugilists themselves seem to be echoing their boss as they are breathing fire ahead of he championship. "We have had enough training and facilitation. The only way to pay back is to die a little for our country" vows the team's skipper 'Zebra' Ssenyange. His 19-year-old teammate, Atanus Mugerwa reminded all his teammates that they are in Cairo not to tour but on a mission. Meanwhile, youngster Sharif Bogere says his feats in the ring will do his talking. "I've gone for a medal. I can't talk much but the ring will do the rest of my talking, promises the lightweight Kampala Boxing Club (KBC) fighter.
Prior to the team's departure, former State Minister for Health, Captain SC Villa after their 2005 CECAFA triumph in Mwanza, Tanzania for which His Excellency the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni rewarded the team with a 36 seater minibus. The Ugandan boxers are expected to face stiff resistance from the hosts Egypt and archrivals Kenya. Despite Uganda being one of the boxing powerhouses on the black man's continent, this is her first time in more than a decade to field a full team in a championship of this magnitude. By press time the organizers of the competition were not yet through with the draws.
Who is who on the team?
One of the most entertaining orthodox boxers in Uganda's amateur boxing who reminds one of the days of former Bombers super stars Abdul Tebazalwa and Sam Lukundo while still amateurs. His work rate, footwork and the determination assure Ugandans of at least a medal from Cairo. Over confidence is his only undoing.
Weight: Light Heavy
The Lukanga Boxing Club orthodox fighter is one the most experienced among members of the team. This probably explains why Kent Musa gave him the captain's armband. He is a lion hearted and confident boxer with a superb uppercut.
Weight: Light Weight
The stylish southpaw fighter is the country's newest kid on the boxing block. He is an accomplished boxer with all qualities of a modern fighter whose footwork and jabbing is a joy to watch. His lack of experience is the only worry a head of the championship.
An orthodox and mobile boxer who loves traversing all corners of a ring. Stamina and confidence are some of the tools in his toolbox.
He is making his debut on the national team but his coach describes him as a rough diamond that only needs polishing. His height and stamina are some of his secret weapons.
Another unfamiliar figure on the national team who surprisingly eliminated former national captain Eddie Akora in the trials to earn his trip to Cairo. Akora was The Bombers' captain during the 2006 Common Wealth games in Melbourne. The strong points of this southpaw fighter lie in the heaviness of his punches, stamina and game reading ability.
The East Coast Boxing Club pugilist is one of the few experienced fighters in the squad whose foot work, determination and experience promises Uganda at least a silver medal from Cairo.
The lightweight orthodox boxer deserves his presence on the squad. He had to fight off veteran Phillip Adyaka in the trials (Adaka had already been appointed the deputy captain of the team). He possesses enough experience but his coach should caution him about his sometimes uncalculated attacks.
An entertaining youngster from Mengo Boxing Club whose superb game reading and coolness promises a bright future. Considering him as a medal candidate might be too outrageous but only dismiss him at your peril.
This UPDF orthodox combatant, whose left hooks and steadiness are a joy to watch has seen it all and should be at the peak of his career but like Muwanga, he needs a lot of prayers if he is to reap any medal from Cairo as he has to defy history too.
Weight: Super Heavy
A big challenge awaits the Lukanga Boxing Club southpaw fighter, as he seems to be facing two opponents at a go: Uganda's previous performance in this weight class and his physical opponents. The Bombers last won a medal in this category way back in 2000 in the Dar es Salaam Zone V championship. All said, his coach is optimistic that it's the precise time to defy history.
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First published: April 13, 2007
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.