FEATURE: Why the constant neglect of the Black Bombers?

Author: Bernard Neequaye

I find it difficult to understand the reasons behind the constant neglect of the national amateur boxing team, Black Bombers, whenever they are preparing for international competitions considering what the sport has achieved for the country over the years.

It is appalling to note that a whole national boxing team struggles to get financial assistance from the state to prepare adequately for major competitions such as an Olympic Games qualifier to take place in Dakar.

The continuous neglect of amateur boxing and their activities must not be condoned especially when they should be having the best of preparation towards a very important competition (Olympics) on the sports calendar.

Truth be told, I don’t think the country expects to see most of her amateur fighters make the qualification mark in Dakar with the kind of neglect of these young fighters who are willing to make a mark for themselves and the nation at the world stage.

On this note, I want to thank mining firm GEODRILL for coming to the aid of the team by purchasing five tickets for the athletes and presenting an undisclosed amount towards their trip to Dakar but the argument remains whether the team should be having flight challenges at this time of their preparations.

My worry is how we have failed as a nation to tackle our poor preparations towards competitions. I remember the team suffered a similar fate during their African Games preparations last year and managed only three bronze medals despite presenting eight boxers.

I expected this to be a wake up call for the country in order to build on subsequent preparations towards international championships but the canker continues and may end up destroying the base of the sport.

Intensive training

As a national team, the most important thing for them is to have frequent residential training camps to prepare them constantly but what we usually see over here is to gather the athletes about one month to the competition.

The most annoying aspect of the whole thing is that the country expects to win laurels or achieve greater heights when these less prepared fighters compete for Ghana without taking into consideration how long their opponents took to prepare for that same competition.

It is time we understood that effective preparation is the only way to help us win required medals since all the other countries that beat Team Ghana invest so much to achieve their honours.

Namibia is gradually becoming a hub of boxing in Africa after the state decided to give it more attention. How does a country which prides herself as the pacesetters of the sport in Africa lose out? It is obvious the neglect of boxing has really affected the nation’s image at the world stage.

But for the intervention of Isaac Dogboe and Richard Commey who both became world champions in the last two years, Ghana would have lost her pedigree in boxing as one of the greatest.

Destroying the base

The reintroduction of the boxing league, which is now dubbed ‘Bukom Fist of Fury’, has given hope to amateur fighters to be competitive and gain experience in different endeavours before turning professional, which most recent Ghanaian fighters lack.

Sometimes providing only adequate preparation for the team isn’t enough and you will have to dig deep to get the best out of these fighters. What the boxers lack is the motivation to do their best, and that must be checked.

During national football qualifiers, players are paid bonuses for achieving what is required of them but the state expects amateur boxers to qualify for championships without any form of financial rewards for their hard work.

In many cases, fighters are only rewarded when they win a medal but footballers usually receive performance-enhancing bonuses depending on where they get to, which is not fair to boxers.

After all, they are doing the same thing by making the nation proud and placing it on the map so where from this huge discrimination which has killed several careers of young boxers?

As the Black Bombers make their trip to Senegal for the Olympics qualifiers, I call on them to put behind all these hindrances and focus on making themselves and the nation proud by securing qualifications to Tokyo in August.

I also call on the state, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, to do the right thing by ensuring that the team gets whatever it needs to excel.

Good luck!