Ugandan boxers go AWOL in Hamburg

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Three Ugandan boxers who participated in the recently concluded 2017 AIBA World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, have left their touring party and refused to return home, according to their manager.

The three boxers, who represented Uganda at the World Championships, are David Ayiti, Geoffrey Kakeeto, and African welterweight champion Muzamiru Kakande.

Kakande lost to USA captain Quinton Randall in the first round, and Kakeeto, in the bantamweight division, was defeated to Nicaragua’s Angel Jarquin. Ayiti was not included in the draw, a situation the Ugandans still are seeking answers about.

David Kavuma, the Federation (UBF) spokesman who traveled as manager, confirmed to KweseESPN on Wednesday that while the officials returned to Uganda last week, the three boxers stayed behind in Germany.

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“The boxers told me that it was an opportunity for them to stay behind and make their lives better by trying to sign for a club in the German league, since they were in contact with an agent,” Kavuma said.

Kavuma added that there was no way he could force the three boxers to fly back to Uganda because they were determined to stay in Germany.

However, the government of Uganda, through the National Council of Sports (NCS), has started investigating the matter.

Dr. Patrick Ogwel, assistant secretary general of NCS, told KweseESPN: “We cannot allow a national team to be handled like this because we are the ones who funded the team and they were supposed to return after the end of the Championship.”

He confirmed that they had written to the boxing governing body to ask them to provide an official report about the Championship, and explain why the boxers did not return. “We have our own investigations going on because we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior,” Ogwel said.

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Charles Bakkabulindi, the state minister in-charge of sports, said the boxers would be dealt with seriously, as he could not risk an international incident with host nations.

“We are going to handle this matter seriously because representing the nation is not something small, and we always want to remain in good relations with these countries where our athletes go for games,” Bakkabulindi said.

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