By Eddie Akalonu
Boxing coach, Pa George Anyanwu has lamented the poor treatment meted out to Nigerian boxing coaches in the last couple of years after toiling to bring about good direction to the sport.
According to Pa Anyanwu, if the situation is not reversed, they may become a threatened species as the Sports Ministry and NSC had made them redundant.
Anyanwu, who spoke from retirement in Owerri, insists that Nigerian coaches hold the key to boxing revival because they are on the ground and know the terrain better than any foreigner.
“This idea of putting a foreigner in control after Nigerian coaches have done the ground-work is counter productive you must agree. And I know there are very enthusiastic Nigerian young men and women who want to take to boxing. They are eager and willing to learn if only the opportunity calls. The neglect of Nigerians has cost this nation so much in the sport, because every boxer who has made it outside the country or represented the country well internationally was groomed to stardom by one coach or another, not by any foreigner,” he said.
He however, added that,”as long as we are still overlooked by the authorities who prefer foreigners, the problem will persist. Let me note that this problem started after Hogan Bassey. But it’s also a fact that he, as national coach, had capable Nigerians who worked with him. They were all dedicated to the job and worked to get the best for Nigeria. So, its time to give more Nigerians a chance and that includes training opportunity to acquire the modern trends in the sport, because going abroad for training can never be borne alone by any one person.