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Kenya secure American coach for boxing
team to Commonwealth Games       

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will have American Hanif Abdullah leading the coaching pool of the boxing team ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April.

Abdullah, who is in the country, has been hired to improve the skills and fighting tactics of Kenyan national boxing team, Hit Squad.

This follows a string of dismal performances by the Hit Squad. Boxing Association of Kenya chairman John Kameta said Tuesday the team of 11 boxers, who are preparing for the Commonwealth Games need to step up their training.

“It is obvious from our last performance in the invitation tournament; the team took part in New Delhi that more needs to be done,” said Kameta on Tuesday in Nairobi.

“This prompted us to seek help and we are happy to have American Abdullah leading our coaches to attain this. Our team strength was evidently missing from the previous games in India and with Hanif on board, I’m sure the performance will change,” he added.

Patrick Maina will deputize Abdullah. At the same time, Kameta is unhappy with the government for failing to fund the boxers’ trip to Cuba, where they were to pitch their training camp.

Kenya will send 11 boxers - seven men and four women - to the Club Games. “Hit Squad” was to train in Cuba and take part in a Four Nations tournament in Havana.

The deal for the Four Nations event was realized during the AIBA Congress in Dubai, where we held extensive talks with officials from the Cuban Federation,” said Kameta.

Other teams invited for the tourney are host Cuba, United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Ethiopia.

Kenya failed to win any medals in boxing at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland while in New Delhi India in 2010; they only had one bronze medal.  

At the Rio Olympic Games, only two boxers made the cut and were eliminated in the preliminary rounds.

Boxing was one of the sports being funded by betting giant firm SportPesa and since their withdrawal over a tussle with Kenya government over tax; the sport has been thrown into confusion and is in dire need of money.


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