The Ghana amateur boxing team, the Black Bombers, will not compete in the African Boxing Championship in Brazzaville, Congo.
The Bombers’ absence at these important games is the result of the government’s failure to deliver money allocated to the team for this event. Ghana’s Youth & Sports ministry, headed by Isaac Kwame Asiamah, failed to provide $32,000 to fund the trip.
The June 17-25 competition in Brazzaville serves as a qualifier for the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Boxing Championships in Hamburg, Germany.Ghana’s absence from these games also excludes them from the 2018 Commonwealth games in Australia.
According to acting Ghana Amateur Boxing Federation (GABF) president George Lamptey, the Ministry of Youth and Sports initially ensured that they would dispense the funds, provided that the team was pared from 18 to 15. This would then cut the budget from $54,000 to $32,000.
“We were even made to account for a receipt of $50 to the ministry as a condition for our travelling and we did that immediately but still we couldn’t go,” Lamptey told Ghana’s Graphic Sports.
Mr Lamptey also pointed out that the situation threatened the revival of amateur boxing in the country, particularly the GABF’s policy to identify and develop 20 amateur boxers in each of the 10 regions of Ghana.
“This idea of one region, 20 boxers, that we have been harboring has now been thrown out of the window,” he said. “The situation is really sad.”
Ghana has always had a rich boxing tradition and been a leader of African boxing. In recent years, however, the government has turned their attention to football (soccer), allocating a disproportionate amount of the country’s sports budget to the national team, despite disappointing results.
The Youth & Sports ministry’s failure to assist the program also affects four amateur boxing coaches, three referees and two cutmen who trained in an AIBA ITO certification course in Lome, Togo and were expecting to continue the training in Congo, Germany and Australia.
“We don’t have this expertise in the country and this was an opportunity for us to get some,” Lamptey said. “The turn of events had demoralized the young boxers who trained for many weeks in preparation for the international competitions.”