National coach Musa Benjamin has cautioned boxers against complacency ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers slated for Dakar, Senegal in February.
He noted that boxers keen on making Team Kenya will have to prove their mettle through consistency and technical finesse.
Musa, who handled the Tanzanian national team to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast last year, also noted that the Christmas break is in order for boxers who needed a rest after an eventful 2019 season.
“I’m sure that the Christmas break won’t affect the boys. Actually, after a rigorous 2019 calendar, I honestly think the break is very much needed,” said Musa.
“We will be looking at tactical and technical finesse both physical and mental. Consistency and desire will be key in selecting the team to Dakar.”
The ‘Hit Squad’ heads to camp on Friday.
“We will push the boxers for strength training and see how far they can go,” quipped Musa, a former national youth coach.
A total of 28 boxers including All Africa Games silver medalist Shaffi Bakari and Elly Ajowi of Police are in the provisional team.
Christine Ongare and Elizabeth Andiego, the first Kenya boxer to play in the Olympics in London 2012, headline the women’s list.
Musa said the team will be whittled down well in time although Musa is unaware what the final team will be like in terms of numbers.
“I have no idea on the Dakar numbers. The Ministry of Sports is better place to guide on that issue. What I know is that slots per weight divisions for men and women have been reduced, meaning we have a tough time in our qualification campaign,” said Musa.
Africa has three slots in eight weight classes apart from super heavy and heavy. We only have 22 slots for men. For the ladies, it’s three in five classes for a total of 15.
“This is really stressful when you come to think of qualification prospects. But after our good showing in Morocco, where we scooped five medals, we will soldier on. Those who will not make it in Dakar will have to travel to Paris for the World qualifiers in mid May.”
Meanwhile, the Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) has released its 2020 calendar which has factored in junior and youth categories.
The season starts in Nairobi on February 6-8 with the National Novices, followed by the Africa Olympic qualifiers in Dakar on February 20-29.
The National Intermediates will be held in Thika on March 5-7 while the National Open will be between March 26 and 28 in Nairobi.
April 16-18 is reserved for the National Youth & Junior Championship in Nairobi while, a week later, the first national league leg will go down in Kitale. The league is scheduled to in Kisumu in November after traversing Nanyuki, Mombasa and Meru.
2020 BFK CALENDAR HIGHLIGHTS
February 6-8: National Novices (Nairobi)
February 20-29: Africa Olympic Qualifiers (Dakar, Senegal)
March 5-7: National Intermediates (Thika)
March 26-28: National Open (Nairobi)
April 16-18: National Youth & Junior Championship (Nairobi)
April 23-25: 1st Leg League: (Kitale)
May 13-24: World Olympic Qualifiers (France)
June 10-12: 2nd Leg League (Meru)
June: AFBC Youth Games (TBC)
August 27-28: 3rd Leg League (Nanyuki)
September 24-26: 4th Leg League (Mombasa)
October: AIBA Youth Women World Championship (TBC)
November 19-21: 5th Leg League (Kisumu)