National Hit squad boxing coach Benjamin Musa has revealed that he wanted to save Shaffi Bakari from further punishment at the hands Botswana’s Mohamed Rajab in the 52kg flyweight final but he refused and opted to fight on.
Musa said he realised Shaffi’s left hand was not functioning and just wanted to concede defeat and save the boxer but he insisted he wanted to go through the fight.
The tactician said Shaffi had injured his hand during the quarters and the situation worsened during semis. “Being the kind of boxer he is, he still won the quarters and the semis with the Injury and he was hoping the situation would improve in the final but it didn’t,” he said.
He said if Shaffi was injury-free, he would have given his opponent a very hard time. He, however, remained hopeful that Shaffi and many other boxers will qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games come February.
He said the preparations this time were good ostensibly because of the new leadership at the national boxing body. He said the training encompassed everything including mental and physical preparations. “This is why we performed better,” he added.
Kenya won a silver and four bronze medals -the best performance after the 2007 All Africa Games in Algeria.
The other medalists were Fredrick Ramogi (super heavy +91), Boniface Mugude (welter 69kg), George Ouma Cosby (middle 75kg) and Elly Ajowi ( heavyweight 91kg).
He said despite not winning medals, the women had improved a lot in terms of technique. He said as compared to previous championships, the women were better off in delivery.“We can not always look at the medals because these games are meant to improve us,” he noted.
He said the women boxers are very much on course and it’s just a matter of time before we start good experiencing results. He defended the performance of Christine Ongare and Elizabeth Andiego, saying the judgement was not fair.“Here in Rabat, we feel we were robbed especially in the women matches but that is a story for another day,” he added.
Shaffi admitted that his opponent was better but his injury curtailed him from functioning.“My opponent was strong and despite my good preparation, I could not cope with him because of the injury,” he said.
He said they learn from mistakes and he hopes to work on his weaknesses ahead of the Olympic qualifiers. Boxing Association of Kenya said he has plans to have boxers train in Cuba and Russia besides organising Inter-County tournaments.