Dotse Ahialey's gold haunts Black Bombers, other disciplines
The Black Bombers are at a cross-road to win gold for the nation for the first time in over three decades,

Dotse Ahialey's gold haunts Black Bombers, other disciplines

At the 1991 African Games in Cairo, Egypt, a young flyweight boxer, Stephen Dotse Ahialey, secured gold for the country in 48kg boxing. He defeated Anicet Rasonnaivo of Madagascar via a points decision.

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That will be the last time the Republic of Ghana saw gold in boxing at a multi-sports international tournament.

Many trials at international events since Ahialey's gold have seen Ghana coming home with at least a bronze medal and at most a silver.

On Friday as the country hosts the continent's biggest multi-sporting event in Accra, dubbed Accra 2023, boxing, one of the two most popular disciplines in the country aside from football, will seek its first gold in 33 years or more at an international event.

The paradox of sports in the country is that the two most loved disciplines, football and boxing, over the past four decades, have brought nothing but pain to Ghanaians on the international scene.

Nonetheless, the commitment and love of Ghanaians towards these two disciplines continue unabated.

Coach Asare

Now saddled with getting Ghana's first gold in boxing since 1991, Black Bombers trainer, Kwasi Ofori Asare, says it is his biggest challenge in his forty-year career as a trainer.

"We are hosting the games, and my biggest challenge is how we can win gold after its elusiveness for the past three decades and more, but I have the team and the support," he told the Graphic Business in an interview last Tuesday.

Coach Asare, as he is popularly referred to in boxing circles, has in his camp the 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, Samuel Takyi, and the son of former famed boxer Braimah Kamoko alias Bukom Banku, Abubakar Kamoko.

However, as witnessed in Senegal last year during the Olympic qualifiers, the Black Bombers failed to secure a single Olympic spot despite the presence of Takyi and other boxers who have vast experience in international competitions.

More needed to be done on the technical side of Ghana's amateur boxing.

The Ghana Boxing Federation, the body in charge of amateur boxing in the country, must hone the skills of trainers of the national boxing teams.

They may include taking them to training courses, broadening their horizon in the game by introducing them to new techniques in the sport and educating them on new rules in the sport.

The current squad training at the Pent Hall at Legon in Accra has six trainers, namely Elvis Robertson, Benjamin Tetteh, Lartekwei Lartey, Frank Addo, Vincent Akai Nettey and lead trainer, Kwasi Ofori Asare.

Despite the presence of these experienced trainers, it is hard for one to repose confidence in the team after the Senegal debacle.

These trainers were with the team in Senegal last year for the Olympic qualifiers.

 
Dilemma

Coach Asare has two issues to contend with to save the face of the nation, which was once the icon of boxing on the continent.

Boxing starts at the games on March 15, but the Black Bombers have a crucial Olympic qualifier in Italy, which starts from March 4 to 11.

It is now up to the lead trainer to select among his 20 boxers who will represent Ghana in Italy and who will fight for the nation on home soil at the games.

"We are yet to select boxers for the Olympic qualifiers in Italy, and those for the games, we are sorting out visa issues with the Italian embassy, but those going to Italy can also come back in time to fight for the nation," he told the Graphic Business.

Other sports

Athletics is another major sport this country is in love with.

However, with few to no medals in recent international competitions, Ghanaians have become apathetic towards the sport.

The President of the Ghana Athletics Association, Bawa Fuseini, told the media that he was targeting seven gold medals in disciplines Ghana would participate in.

This includes 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, high jump and long jump.

It is noteworthy, however, for readers to acknowledge that the nation's favourite 100m runner, Benjamin Azamati, has entered into to contest at the games.

Downside

Many of the continent's top athletes are not turning up for the games.

They cite proximity to the upcoming Olympics and other equally important events.

The games will, therefore, be without the best on the continent.

Despite that, the showpiece is expected to be spectacular and Ghanaians must savour the moment.

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