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As the AIBA Year of Africa programme gets under way, we spoke with the Botswana coach Emmanuel Galeboe to get his thoughts on how the initiative will benefit the continent’s boxing and what is required in order to build Africa’s pool of coaches.

How important is the Year of Africa initiative for boxing’s growing popularity on the continent?
It is of huge importance to boxing because it will bring a greater number of technical courses to Africa, which in turn will mean more coaches coming through with formal training with which to develop their boxers.

How and why did you start out in boxing?
I always think that to do something successfully you have to do it with passion and love. I took up boxing as soon as I joined the military because it was something I had always wanted to be involved with.

As a coach, you must set an example for your boxers. What is the most important lesson you try to teach them?
I always teach, guide and encourage my boxers to learn about the importance of technique, tactics and keeping the body healthy. More than anything else, though, I teach them the importance of discipline and hard work.

What is the current status of boxing in your country?
Boxing in Botswana has been going through a difficult time because of the shortage of funding and facilities. That has a direct impact on how we can train and educate our boxers. What we also need is to bring in international coaches so that they can learn from other, more experienced countries, too.

What do you feel is the secret to boxing’s future success in Africa?
I think the key is for us to come together as a continent, cooperating and working together to pool our knowledge and expertise and learn from each other. This is where we can really benefit from the Year of Africa, by collectively bringing through a new generation of more experienced boxers.

Who are your heroes of African boxing?
My heroes are Algeria’s World Championships silver medallist Muhammad Flissi (52kg) and 2008 Olympic Quarter-Finalist Abdelkadar Chadi (64kg) and Morocco’s Hamzah El Barbari (64kg).

Is Africa ready to produce its next Olympic Boxing Champion?
I would say so, yes, thanks to the facilities and programmes that the AIBA Year of Africa is bringing, we will be ready to produce our next Olympic Champion.

What can be done to encourage more Coaches in Africa?
More frequent courses across Africa will certainly help to encourage more coaches to come through, so we should see the numbers go up across this year.