29th September, 2010
As Nigeria gets set to mark her Golden Jubilee celebration, veteran boxing coach, JoeÂ Mensah says there is no need for celebration because boxing is at the lowest ebb in theÂ country.
Speaking with Boxing In Focus at the weekend, Mensah said the state of boxing in NigeriaÂ really calls for serious scrutiny. He argued that the administrators have not done enoughÂ in the developmental aspect of the squared-rope sport.
The boxing coach, who couldnâ€™t hide his feelings, said too much concentration onÂ Â Â football is not doing boxing any good.
He stated the three things that must be put in place if boxing must grow in the country.
â€œThere must be conducive atmosphere for sponsors to come in. Where it concerns governmentÂ is for them to put facilities in place. But, as at today there is no facility for boxingÂ across the country, and the administrators are comfortable with the situation,â€ MensahÂ said
He stressed that if boxing could get half of the attention football is getting, the sportÂ would have taken Nigeria to greater heights as it was before independence.
Mensah said there is need for Nigeria to have addressed the problem as she clocks 50Â because it was boxing that brought Nigeria recognition.
According to the veteran boxing coach, â€œthere are more football stadium than boxing gymsÂ in the country. Everywhere you go, youâ€™ll find a stadium but same cannot be said ofÂ boxing gym. We need to look inward if boxing must be revived.â€
On Nigeriaâ€™s chances in the boxing event of the Commonwealth Games, he said he wished theÂ five boxers well but cannot beat his chest that they will do well in New Delhi, India.
He noted that all the indoor sports halls in the country are multi-purpose, adding thatÂ they are not good enough for boxing events. He reckoned that boxing requires moreÂ attention than it is getting now.
â€œWe really need the Federal Government to do more for boxing to develop in the country.Â The sport is going down by the day. The administrators should endeavour to build boxingÂ gymnasium in the geo-political zones in the country. With that the sport would go places,Â he said.â€