•The tactician spoke after two Kenyan luminaries lost out in the cut-throat hunt for Paris 2024 Olympics quota berths.
•Kenya’s Pauline Chege crashed out of the competition after losing her featherweight preliminary bout to Mariatou Diablo of Senegal on split points (4:1).
Hit Squad head coach Benjamin Musa has expressed his concerns over ‘questionable officiating’ at the ongoing Africa Olympics Boxing Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal.
The tactician spoke after two Kenyan luminaries lost out in the cut-throat hunt for Paris 2024 Olympics quota berths.
Kenya’s Pauline Chege crashed out of the competition after losing her featherweight preliminary bout to Mariatou Diablo of Senegal on split points (4:1).
Musa’s woes were compounded further when skipper Boniface Mogunde was also bundled out of the competition by Lesotho’s Michael Pakela in the light middleweight clash.
“I think the judges didn’t get their decision right in Pauline Chege’s bout because in our opinion she dominated the fight,” Musa said.
“We dominated the first round, but after that, I don’t know what happened later. I wouldn’t like to delve much into officiating but what I can say is that I didn’t like the referee’s decisions,” he added.
“Even in Boniface Mogunde’s fight, we were dissatisfied with the results the judges returned.”
The seasoned gaffer, nonetheless, lavished a lot of praise on Hit Squad heavyweight pugilist Peter Abuti who cruised to the next stage.
Abuti’s fierce hunt for the coveted Olympic slot got off to a sterling start with a resounding 5-0 win over Egyptian Em Abdellatif at the Dakar Arena hall on Tuesday.
Abuti has vowed to school Julio Gabriel of Mozambique who booked a date with him after securing an emphatic 5-0 victory against Freddy Londji of Gabon in the other Round 16 bout.
“I’m already on the road to Paris. There is no turning back. All athletes dream of representing their countries at the Olympics and that’s my prayer too. I thank God for bringing me this far because I wouldn’t have achieved much without his help,” Abuti said.
Abuti said he was sure he would outmaneuver Abdellatif after sizing him up in the initial phases of their bout.
“I played well because I stepped into the ring with a lot of confidence and I didn’t experience any sort of pressure in my bout. I knew I had trained well and that gave me a lot of composure throughout the fight,” Abuti said.
“The coaches also contributed a lot to my win by offering me the sound advice I needed to beat my opponent. They asked me to take maximum advantage of my opponent’s frail body frame, which I did,” he added.
The Kenyan camp was buoyed by another show of great character by flyweight David Karanja who surmounted Namibia’s Tuuyen Johannes on a split 3-2 decision in the men’s 51kg round of 32 bouts.
This was Karanja’s second consecutive victory after the referee stopped the contest to salvage Thibaut Justin Ngbandamale of Central Africa Republic from his vicious punches on Sunday. Karanja has secured a quarterfinal date with Eddine Zidi of Tunisia on Wednesday.
Welterweight Frizah Anyango also beat Cheick Mbaye on the Referee Stop Contest in Round Two, to secure a quarterfinal berth against Ivorian Brigitte Mbabi Tsheusi in the women’s 66kg on Wednesday. The competition which will culminate on Friday, takes a break on Tuesday.