•The Kenya Open has traditionally served as a yardstick to ascertain national team members well in time for international assignments
•With the sad state of affairs, some boxing experts are predicting a bleak future for Kenya’s national team ‘Hit Squad’ ahead of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers and this year’s All Africa Games.
A few months after a truce was arrived at to salvage dwindling fortunes of the amateur game in the country, the two warring Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) factions are at loggerheads again—this time with parallel Kenya Open championships. The two events are scheduled for between April 24-27 and boxing enthusiasts will be following the new development keenly.
The Kenya Open has traditionally served as a yardstick to ascertain national team members well in time for international assignments. Nevertheless, with incessant punches traded from both sides of the divide, two Kenya Opens will be held at two major counties.
One faction is headed by BAK chairman John Kameta and the other by secretary general Isaac Mbote. The John Kameta-organised Kenya Open allegedly backed by president aspirant Kennedy Otieno is slated for Mombasa while the other supported by the other aspirant for the top seat, Anthony Ombok Otieno aka Jamal and Mbote is programmed for Nairobi’s Charter Hall.
With the sad state of affairs, some boxing experts are predicting a bleak future for Kenya’s national team ‘Hit Squad’ ahead of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers and this year’s All Africa Games.
“With clear indications that we shall have two parallel Kenya Opens, it’s obvious that our boxers will go nowhere. In simple Caesar’s language, Kenya will not be represented in the All African Games. This is the amount of sacrifice our boxers and coaches will have to pay until sanity returns into the boxing ring,” said former Kenya team international Duncan Kuria aka ‘Sugar Ray’.
Another stakeholder fumed: “Future boxing generations will judge us harshly for this juvenile debacle, a leadership burning in its own smoke and eating its own head. Sanity needs to be restored, it’s too much.”
Reached for comment in regard to BAK calendar politics, Defaba’s Lt. Col. Paul Mungori who is also the secretary in Kameta’s faction said: “You are aware of the unified calendar where the political protagonists had agreed on but later vacated.
The Serena Hotel meeting was convened to implement point of action no 8 on a unified calendar. But war economy interests subverted the agreement. Now it’s free for all. The current BAK office is valid until elections are held.”
According to the unified Serena calendar shared to various media houses, Kenya Open was slated for Nairobi. But following the exit of former Sports CS Rashid Echesa, who had initially summoned the warring factions at his Kencom House office in a bid to find a lasting solution, it’s game on for boxing politics.
Kameta’s camp released another calendar to counter the Serena one after Echesa’s exit contrary to what was agreed upon at Serena. BAK have not held their elections since their mandate expired in May 2017.