Kenya’s light flyweight boxer, Shaffi Bakari, lost to Germany’s Omar Ibrahim 5:0 on unanimous points in the International Boxing Association (Aiba) World Championships in Hamburg on Sunday night.
Bakari was Kenya’s last hope in the championships as his compatriots, lightweight Nick Okoth and middleweight John Kyalo who boxed earlier, lost their respective bouts in the same manner.
Not a single Kenyan pugilist registered a win in all the three rounds in Hamburg. They were outclassed by their opponents, perhaps pointing to the inability of Kenyan coaches to read the game and guide their boxers accordingly.
Kenyan coaches like the late Eddy ‘Papa’ Musi of Nairobi and Nakuru-based Peter Morris are remembered for guiding local boxers to victory in such tournaments.
In the 1980s at City Hall light flyweight Ibrahim ‘Surf’ Bilali was knocked down by a Tanzanian opponent during a Jamuhuri Day Tournament between Kenya and Tanzania.
Musi was assistant team coach and at the end of the first round, he asked Bilali: “Is he hitting hard.” And Bilali answered in the affirmative. Musi advised Bilali to keep on moving as he landed his punches and after three rounds, Bilali had piled enough points to win the contest.
Kenya is experiencing a serious shortage of top class coaches and the few ones who are there appears not to be given a chance to handle the national team. Unless the situation is rectified Kenya will keep on performing badly internationally.
Kenya’s hope now remains with the light flyweight, Shaffi Bakari.