Training the trainers, the right way to resurrect Ghana boxing
By Richard Avornyotse, GNA Sports Desk
Accra, Oct 13, GNA - When Ghana failed to send boxers to the Athens Olympic Games, many Ghanaians lamented the decline in the sport that had given us the first Olympic medal many years ago.
Indeed, some former boxers became vocal and called for drastic reforms in the structure and constitution of the association that supervises the sport in the country.
Consequently the Ghana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) came under fire for its inability to groom boxers to represent Ghana in international competitions distinctively. Post mortem examinations were done on recent international competitions Ghana participated in and the conclusion was that the problems of our amateur boxers were more technical than anything else.
While we sent 11 boxers to the All Africa Games in Abuja last year and boasted before the commencement of hostilities that we were the team to beat, we returned with only a bronze medal that did not guarantee us representation at the Olympic Games.
From there, the signals became clearer that our boxing was in a state of hopelessness and instead of going to the theatre for a major surgical operation, we tried to prescribe medication that was, to say the least, not related to the illness.
And after a training spell in Cuba, under the same inefficient management and technical overlords, we lost miserably in the final elimination contest for Africa in Botswana and messed up with the final chance to present a team in Athens.
Such have been our woes in the unpaid ranks of the fistic sport of self defence, the sport that had put us on the world sporting map in years past.
While the authorities felt content with our woeful performance and failed to effect changes at the managerial and technical levels of the national team, the GABA remained unruffled and did not do anything to reverse the downward trend.
The GABA rather contented itself with picking up quarrels with those who criticised its performance and refused to realise that it was time to take positive action to save the sport.
It is the light of this that I want to congratulate the Ghana Boxing Association for organising a course for boxing coaches in the country.
Needless to say that most of the boxers who find their way into the national team are from the various gyms whose trainers the GBA has sent back to school to learn and polish their technical skills.
And with versatile former boxers turned trainers like Olympic medalist, Eddie Blay and the "Black Hercules," Peter Assnadoh sitting in charge of the tutorials, chances are that most of the participants would be much better of after the course.
I always remember the form Assandoh exhibited when he was active, particularly his demolition of fellow countrymen, George Aidoo and Scorpion Ofosu, who in their rights, were very big names in the world middleweight class at that time.
That the "Black Hercules" fought 270 professional fights and lost only two means he knows his onions and he is worth his salt. Added to this, is the fact that Assandoh, who now goes by the designation of technical director of the GBA won first place in an international course for boxing coaches in Italy last year from a field of 32 participants drawn from 25 countries.
And with such classy resource persons available, it is just proper that the GBA has taken the bull by the horn and instituted a course that will benefit many coaches and transform the face of Ghana boxing. The knowledgeable Benson T. Baba, chairman of the Ghana Olympic Committee once remarked that our boxing would rise if drastic measures were taken to improve the technical aspect of the sport.
This is the time and we all have to laud the GBA for a step in the right direction.
While we hope the course would revamp boxing and send it back onto the pedestal of success and glory, it is necessary we recognise and appreciate the efforts of those charged with the responsibility to mould the building blocks for recovery.
Let us recognise their worth and reward them accordingly, as they shoulder the responsibility of brightening the national colours on the world boxing map.
Let us break the norm and accept our prophets in our own country. And let GABA eat up its pride, accept its inadequacies and embrace the efforts of GBA because the whole nation stands to benefit from the GBA initiative.
Fire on Eddie Blay and Peter Assnadoh. Return the power to the jabs of our boxers and mother Ghana will remember you forever. For once Moses Foh-Amoaning has silenced his critics with this laudable programme.