Cuban boxing coach returns; GOA to foot the bill


By Avenash Ramzan

Through a developmental initiative forged by a partnership between the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) and the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), Cuban coach Francisco Hernandez Roldan is back in Guyana to work with the country’s boxers.

The Olympic Association, according to its president K.A. Juman Yassin, will exclusively foot the bill for Roldan’s stay in Guyana.

He is primarily tasked with preparing the country’s boxers for the Pan American Championship, and once they qualify, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This is Roldan’s second stint in Guyana, having completed an initial three-year coaching spell in 2015. During that time, he was responsible for boxers who represented the country at the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships, the South American Youth Games and the Pan Am Qualifiers.

“We know we have a long road ahead, which includes the Pan Am Qualifier, the Pan Am Games, the Olympic Qualifier, World Championships and so forth. I sat with Mr. Juman Yassin maybe about one and a half to two months ago and Mr. Yassin thought that it was terribly important to have the Cuban coach involved in the training of our young boxers,” Steve Ninvalle, president of the GBA, explained.

“It is the worst-kept secret that we’ve been improving, maybe not leaps and bounds, but we’ve been improving, and now with Mr. Roldan joining our developmental crew, I think the development of the sport would be much speedier.”

Roldan, in brief remarks, expressed gratitude to the two organisations for making his return possible. He promised to “work very hard” and give his “best to the boxers.”

GOA president Yassin shared that it was during a discussion with Ninvalle he learnt that the GBA head bemoaned the fact Roldan’s contract was not renewed.

Yassin said the GOA is now in a position to rectify that scenario.

“In order to go to Pan American Games, which is in July this year in Lima, Peru, you have to qualify. And if you win at the Pan American Games you can now go to the Tokyo Games. So speaking to Steve about this, the discussion was what can be done so that our boxers can perform well and qualify for the Pan Am Games and Tokyo Olympics,” Yassin explained.

He added, “I asked him to suggest and let us know what his feelings are and what could be done as it regards coaching. He immediately said he will look at it, and came back no too long after to indicate that Mr. Roldan was the choice of him and the Guyana Boxing Association.”

According to Yassin, Ninvalle felt Roldan did a good job with the nation’s boxers in his first stint, and his knowledge-base of the locals would put him “in a better position to really take our boxers to that next level.”

“The Guyana Olympic Association would be footing the full bill for his stay in Guyana,” Yassin declared. “It is my expectation and hope that our boxers will qualify for the Pan American Games in July.”

The Qualifying tournament will take place in Nicaragua during the first week of April.

Yassin stated that once the Guyanese boxers qualify for the Pan American Games, Roldan will remain in the country preparing them for that event.

“Depends on how they perform- they may or may not win- but if they don’t win, then we will see what we can do as regards Tokyo. Because after the Pan Am Games, there will be other qualifying tournaments. I also wish to make an appeal to the boxers because we are putting things in place for them; it is for them now to make that sacrifice to ensure that they do what they have to do so that they can benefit from the training Mr. Roldan will give to them,” Yassin asserted.

Ninvalle added that Roldan’s work programme will begin almost immediately, as a meeting with the Technical Director of the GBA, Terrence Poole, is scheduled for this evening (February 20).

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