Cuban boxing coach, Francisco Hernandez Roldan bade Guyana farewell Monday night after wrapping up a three-year stint and called on the new government to support the sport.
Roldan was responsible for overseeing pugilists that represented the Golden Arrowhead at the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships, the South American Youth Games, the Pan Am Qualifiers and the Goodwill tournament that was hosted here.
The Cuban was feted at a farewell dinner by the Ministry of Education Monday night at the New Thriving Restaurant and was also presented with tokens of appreciation.
After a toast, Roldan, 48, called for more support of the fistic sport locally.
“We can bring the best coaches in the world here, but once there is no support, the discipline will suffer,” he said in his spanish accent.
“I am confident that the new government will do that. We have the main thing which is talent but talent alone is not enough to win in this era,” he added.
Roldan, who had a 12-year career in the ring, also called for more local boxing tournaments to be staged here.
“Its the base for the higher level,” he opined.
Quizzed on returning for another stint here ahead of next year’s Olympic Games, Roldan stated:“I am open to returning to Guyana. I love this place and the people, our countries are very much alike, Guyana and Cuba.”
President of the GBA, Steve Ninvalle told this publication that “Roldan’s tenure here has been very enlightening to us as an association and to the sport of boxing in Guyana.
“We would have wanted to make sure that he was here to lead us into the Olympics but that cannot be and we have to live with that.
However, it is important to note that the knowledge he brought to this sport here will not go to waste. We have already seen changes to our boxers and him leaving now will register as a positive.”
Ninvalle noted that the federation has the services of two local three-star coaches (Sebert Blake and Terrence Poole) and they will have to take up the mantle in Roldan’s absence.
He also stated that he is open to Roldan returning for a second stint if the opportunity is feasible.
At the dinner, Blake and Poole were in high praise of the Cuban.
Bon voyage, señor Roldan.