After missing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, former national middleweight champion Elizabeth Andiego is back in the team that will take part in the Africa Zone Three Championships set for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from March 27 to April 7.
Andiego who failed in her bid for the Olympics at the Africa Olympics Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal in February 2020 has been selected in a provisional squad of 26 boxers (15 male and 11 female boxers) for the Dar es Salaam Championships.
As Andiego makes a comeback, the 2015 Africa Boxing Championships lightweight gold medalist and team captain Nick Okoth leads the team with Africa Zone Three super heavyweight gold medalist Elly Ajowi expected to successfully defend the title.
Head coach Musa Benjamin said the team was ready to rumble and morale was high in the squad that will be whittled down to 13 male and 10 female boxers before they jet out to Dar es Salaam a few days to the tournament.
“We are ready for the showpiece and boxers are in good mood for the tournament as we continue with residential training in a tournament that will shape us for other forthcoming international championships,” Benjamin said.
Hosts Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville and Cameroon will take part in the championship.
After the Dar es Salaam Championships, Kenya also hope to send teams for the Africa Boxing Championships in Tunisia in April, World Women Boxing Championships in Istanbul, Turkey in May and Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England in July. Benjamin said the final squad for the Africa Zone Three Championships will be picked on merit.
“Our aim is to reach the medal bracket and therefore selection of the final squad will purely be based on merit,” said Benjamin who led the Tanzania National Boxing for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The team is currently training in Nairobi under the supervision of three experienced coaches led by Benjamin with the assistance of deputy coach David Munuhe and assistant coach John Waweru.
2018 Commonwealth Games flyweight bronze medalist Christine Ongare and former national welterweight champion Elizabeth Akinyi who has since moved to the middleweight are also in the squad.