African Games bronze middleweight medalist George Cosby of Kenya Police (pictured) and Victor Odhiambo of Kenya Defence Forces were dropped from the national team headed to Dakar, Senegal for the African Olympic qualifiers.
Head coach Musa Benjamin said dropping the duo was a tough decision reached by a panel of five coaches who oversaw the playing unit’s two-week high altitude residential training camp in Nanyuki.
“It was a tough decision as we looked at many factors, which led us to do things on merit as it was competitively difficult to come up with a formidable final squad,” Benjamin told Standard Sports yesterday.
Cosby was beaten by African Boxing Union professional middleweight champion Rayton Okwiri who quit the paid ranks in a huff after differing with officials of Kenya Professional Boxing Commission to join the team when it was in a non-residential training camp at Mathare Police Depot in Nairobi.
Odhiambo, whose last international assignment was in Africa Boxing Championships in Congo Brazzaville in 2015, was replaced by policeman Joseph Shigali who is making his debut in the national team.
Cosby said he lost to an experienced Okwiri and wished him well and promised to fight for a ticket to the Commonwealth Games in London in 2022.
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“Okwiri is an experienced boxer compared to me and I wish him well in the qualifiers as I step up my training in readiness for the London Commonwealth Games in two years’ time,” Cosby said.
Odhiambo said: ”Having accepted the verdict of the coaches, I’m going back to the drawing board to correct the mistakes I made in residential training in readiness for future international championships.”
The team leaves for the North African country tomorrow morning, according to the Deputy head coach David Munuhe.
Eight male and five female boxers to be captained by 2015 Africa Championships gold medalist Nick Okoth of KDF and Assistant captain Elizabeth Andiego of Kenya Police have earned their tickets to the continental Olympic qualifiers.
African Games flyweight silver medalist Shaffi Bakari (Police) is back in the team after earning a clean bill of health from Dr Ben Muthiora and beating upcoming star David Karanja of Nairobi.
Police officer Humphrey Ochieng ‘Jakababa’ who was in The Hit Squad that featured in 2016 Africa Olympic qualifiers in Cameroon while plying in the middleweight also made it to the team but this time in the light heavyweight (81kg).
Fresh from scooping a bronze medal in African Games in Marrakech, Morocco last season, policeman Boniface Mogunde has also been included alongside Olympian Elly Ajowi (Police) and national super heavyweight champion Fredrick Ramogi of KDF.
The female boxers are led by middleweight Andiego (Elizabeth) having featured in continental games in Morocco and she is in the company of policewoman Christine Ongare (light flyweight), featherweight Beatrice Akoth of Nairobi, lightweight Everlyn Akinyi and welterweight Elizabeth Akinyi.
Akinyi (Elizabeth) makes a comeback after her debut in the 2016 African Olympics qualifiers in Cameroon.
The boxers will be handled by Musa Benjamin, David Munuhe and assistant coaches John Waweru, Lenny Katibi ‘Cobra’, Julius Theuri and Charles Mukula of Dallas Muthurwa.