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Prophet Of Doom: Sholanke Predicts New Year Woes For Nigeria

Posted by By Adebobola Alawode on 2009/01/09 | Views: 378 |

Prophet Of Doom: Sholanke Predicts New Year Woes For Nigeria


As 2008 ended on a sad note for boxing in Nigeria, stakeholders in the game are looking forward to the New Year with great expectations. But Femi Sholanke, a former heavyweight boxer, has predicted a very bad year for boxing in Nigeria.

As 2008 ended on a sad note for boxing in Nigeria, stakeholders in the game are looking forward to the New Year with great expectations. But Femi Sholanke, a former heavyweight boxer, has predicted a very bad year for boxing in Nigeria.

The ex-pugilist-turned-coach said 2009 will be a bleak year for sports in Nigeria, especially boxing, because the authorities are yet to get it right. After reviewing the performance of boxing in 2008, Sholanke came out with a startling revelation: ”2009 may be worse for the game.” He, however, urged the authorities to be up and doing if the year must be eventful for boxing in the country.

The coach, who is the boss of FESTAC Town Boxing Club and Academy, opined that boxing lovers in Nigeria may have little or nothing to cheer in the new year because countries that want to succeed in the game start preparations for major boxing bouts in good time.

The bulky coach said he is an optimist, but would rather consider facts and figures on ground. He added that evidence that Nigeria may not fare well in 2009 is already manifesting, stressing that except something urgent and tangible is done, the game will further experience dwindling fortunes.

According to the former boxer, except the factional crisis currently rocking the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C) is resolved, professional boxing cannot get a new lease on life. He stressed that there is no way professional boxing in Nigeria would rise to the top again with the current impasse rocking the body.

He stated that: “Professional boxing in Nigeria, in 2008, was nothing to write home about. The crisis rocking the NBB of C was one of the reasons for the poor performance of our professionals in all the weight categories. There is no way sponsors will promote fights when there is a leadership problem in the NBB of C. Except both factions settle their differences in the new year, I don’t see any good coming out of professional boxing.”

Sholanke added that Nigeria should have learnt a good lesson from the dismal performance of the country’s boxers in the Beijing Olympics, in China, last year. He blamed the authorities for the woes recorded by the country in the Olympic Games.

He said, for good to come out of amateur boxing this year, government must restructure the Nigeria Amateur Boxing Association (NABA), train and re-train national boxing coaches, stage regular competitions and functional grassroots programmes targeted at grooming young boxers.

He stated that since the boxing coaches handling the national boxing team failed to acquaint themselves with new trends, they cannot train the boxers well.

Speaking on the way forward for boxing in the new year, he charged the newly appointed Sports Minister, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, to be the minister for sports and avoid giving undue attention to football, to the detriment of other sports.

“Congratulations to the new Sports Minister. It is a welcome development that we now have a minister with a background in sports. I see the new minister taking sports to greater heights, but we all have to rally round and give him the desired backing to succeed.”

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