It is now or never for Botswana and Africa’s number one boxer Rajab Otukile Mohammed who is set to have one last bid to live his Olympic dream at the upcoming World Boxing Championship in Paris,France.
The last Tokyo 2021 Olympic qualification tourney sanctioned by International Olympic Committee(IOC) Boxing Task Force is to be held on the 13th to the 24th of May where Rajab is fortunate to have been selected in the national team under a tight budget to try his luck one last time.
The 52 kg national champion Rajab disenchanted the nation at large at the recent African Olympic boxing qualification competition at Dakar,Senegal, losing in the quarter finals amid being a top seed.
Sportsnation staffer Kabelo Seleka gives an insight;
NOT A DAY TO REMEMBER FOR RAJAB MOHAMMED
The flyweight division quarter finals of the Dakar,Senegal Africa Olympics qualification tourney became a nightmare for Rajab losing to his Mozambique-an competitor.
Ranked number one in Africa,Rajab lost to his previous victim in the Zone IV Boxing Championship hosted in Botswana just a year ago.The bout which many commentators labelled it mediocrity by the local star.
The shock lost to Mozambique-an Juliano Fernando Maquina in the quarter finals of the Olympic qualification tourney made Rajab null for Tokyo 2021.
For Rajab to qualify for Olympics he had to win silver or gold,and now he is forced to go a mountainous hill at the World Boxing Championship.
Rajab said Maquina out boxed him in the first two rounds.
“He was tall,I failed to in-fight,when it was already late I realized so,said Rajab.”
Luza told Sportsnation that his star boxer relies only on attacking.He added that when Rajab is being kept on the ropes he becomes vulnerable.
“Wrong approach on the day plus a bit of complacency. Rajab depends too much on being offensive even when it’s not necessary and i know he’s usually open after attacking,echoed Luza.”
Some boxing fanatics blame BOBA for in-fluxing the camp with 14 boxers and three coaches with an extra medic and referees.
The source lamented that if Botswana is to qualify for the Olympics it must focus on few quality boxers and not develop at that late stage and an international level.
For his part,Luza supported the team saying that it was for development purposes and international exposure for other young athletes.
COACHES BLAME LUZA FOR RAJAB MOHAMMED’S FAILURE
Local coaches have blamed the national team coach Lechezhani ” Master” Luza for Rajab`s failure to qualify for the Olympics. Some decry the mentoring style of Luza on the youngster.
The coaches known to this publication narrated that Luza does not give the boxer a spark while he is fighting.
One mule in particular argued that Luza only gives instructions during round breaks while in fact Rajab needs constant commanding from his corner.
Luza has rubbished the allegations arguing that every boxer has their day. Luza further noted that through his guidance Keamogetswe Kenosi has qualified to the Olympics attesting that he is doing something good.
“Nonsense,how do i qualify Kenosi and fail Rajab,How do u justify that? Every athlete have their own day. I account for the whole team not Rajab alone. I coach 7 athletes and not Rajab alone. Whoever says that, lacks vision and understanding of the sport,lamented Luza.
BOTSWANA COUNTED THE CHICKS BEFORE THEY HATCH
Although Rajab stepped in the ring with a losing experience having missed Rio 2016 by chance after a defeat from Tunisian Monstassar El Bouali, Rajab quickly built his reputation in boxing to be the tournament’s favorite as a top seed.
A boxing commentator told this publication that Rajab and team Botswana as a whole had already won the gold before they even start to compete.
The national team coach has also commented on the issue saying;
This is exactly what made Rajab not to qualify because some gave him the impression that he’s already there. At Olympics you work,many will never make it.Nothing is automatic.
RAJAB MOHAMMED’S INDISCIPLINE
The star boxer is alleged to be involved in several in-disciplinary acts.Sources close to the star lamented that he was once involved in alcohol and drug abuse while in camp.
The culprit together with his teammate George Molwantwa are said to have also been involved in a car accident while having “fun”.
Association has since appointed a psychologist to help Rajab particularly after the loss of his mother last year.
RAJAB MOHAMMED’S ENVIRONMENT
The Lobatse bred is said to have grown and nurtured in a township where crime and pantsolaship is high.
The association has since been recommended to constantly keep him away by camping him and the rest of the team from his environment where his character is easily influenced.
WHATS NEXT FOR RAJAB MOHAMMED
World Boxing Championship is the second and last Olympic qualification competition for Rajab.
Africa has been given only five slots where the national jewel is earmarked to make a cut.
Fortunately with Botswana National Olympic Committee(BNOC) has come on board financially to support Botswana`s number one`s quest for the Olympics.