•The last time the tournament was held in 2019 Defaba emerged runners-up to Chafua Chafua in Mombasa.
•The erstwhile Hit Squad pugilist has pledged to groom gallant fighters who possess the mojo to power the country back to its glorious years.
Kenya Defence Forces Amateur Boxing Association (Defaba) team head coach Nicholas Abaka says his charges are punching furiously on the bag ahead of the Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) national league in September.
Abaka said they are hankering to topple their perennial rivals Kenya Police also known as ‘Chafua Chafua’ in what is anticipated to be a battle royale.
The last time the tournament was held in 2019, Defaba emerged runners-up to Chafua Chafua in Mombasa.
The soldiers had just made a comeback to the Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) national league for the first time after participating in a parallel league.
“We are in camp at the Jamhuri show grounds preparing for the tournament in September. We are full house and it's encouraging to see our four female boxers doing very well,” Akaba said.
The erstwhile Hit Squad pugilist has pledged to groom gallant fighters who possess the mojo to power the country back to its glorious years.
He believes he has enough depth in camp to charge for the national title.
“I really appreciate the spirit displayed by the KDF bosses thus far because they have allowed us to recruit based on talent,” Abaka said.
Defaba boasts celebrated luminaries in Hit Squad captain Nick Okoth who is currently flying the country's flag at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom as well as Isaac Meja.
Abaka, who retired from the ring in 2019 after flying the country's flag in international competitions for close to a decade, says he has been busy moulding a new crop of boxers in his fold.
He most definitely knows what it takes to attain the desired heights in the category, having taken the country by storm in the 2005 Zone 5 Championships in Nairobi, where he clinched gold in the welterweight division and capped off his stellar performance with the Best Boxer Award.
“The only way for us to move forward as a country and reclaim our forte in boxing is to begin moulding boxers from the scratch. We can't keep relying on the aging boxers who are about to call time on the careers,” said Abaka.
Abaka said he is frantically groping for his maiden title as a boxing coach after proving his mettle in the ring as a player.
“I've not won any titles since I took charge of the team because I transited to coaching only recently in 2018 and we've not had frequent tournaments in recent years owing to the challenges occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic,” Abaka said.