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BoBA in dire need of full time coach

The Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) has a huge excuse basket for failing to qualify for the Olympics since their establishment, and top of the list has been the goofs in their technical commissions on who leads the team to the ring in various competitions.

Of late, Master Luza and Thebe Setlalekgosi have been interchangeably sharing the national team responsibility and more often than not, favouritism and nepotism accusations have been levelled at those who appoint the coaches. Some mentors even washed the dirty linen of the Association in the public decrying alienation.

While many came to terms with the duo being the masters of the local pugilists, the Thato Patlakwe led BoBA dropped a bombshell just before the departure to Cameroon for the Olympic qualifiers, when appointing the ‘fringe’ Johannes Ditlhabang to lead the team in such an important task. This created commotion within the boxing family as many questioned the appointment.

At the end of the day, BoBA’s dream to persistently send boxers to the Olympics was up in smoke with the appointment miserably backfiring, as out of the seven boxers sent, none of them qualified. This was bound to happen considering that the boxers were under new mentorship. Why they didn’t continue with either of the two, especially Luza who was at the fore front in the build up to the Olympic qualifiers remains a mystery.

Interestingly, BoBA after careful introspection on what could have triggered their Olympic failure now wants a full time national team coach. The idea was brought to the fore at the AGM last weekend and it appears the top brass has also been pondering on the issue but froze whenever they had to share the thought with the delegates.

“Let me acknowledge that the performance of our national team has declined and we should come up with strategies to mitigate the decline hence the need to foster our youth development structures and recruitment of full time national team coach,” Patlakwe said.

“You are all aware that for any Association to produce good results at international competitions we need a full time national team coach. We have since engaged other stakeholders in this regard,” he said.

Although the clubs idea for the coach is basically to avoid favouritism on national team selection, this development, if it materialises, will be what the doctor has prescribed for boxing.

Apart from this ‘trivial talk’ by the affiliates that their boxers are being overlooked to represent Botswana, the coach is expected to work with the Sports Development Officer (SDO), Healer Modiradilo to coordinate their development grand plan which has been allocated 33% of the P900 000 boxing grant. This could again allay favouritism fears over national team selection. But most imperatively would be continuity in the national team and not the make-break that it has been with the current system.  If done accordingly, BoBA can claim their status as a force to reckon with in the local sport scene and they can also reap the desired fruits of producing quality boxers who will parade this nation’s flag at international events.

“What is worrying is the decline of our national team performance hence we want a full time coach, so he or she can be with the boxers all the time. Excelling countries have full time coaches and we should follow suit,” BoBA SDO Modiradilo said.

Perhaps another disaster is in waiting for the U20 AUSC Region 5 team that will represent this nation in December at Luanda, Angola. Ghanzi duo of Phuthego Sakhu and Keleagetse Ntong will be coach and assistant respectively. The two are undoubtedly coaches of repute locally having produced good boxers, but without any international familiarity we are probably undertaking another ‘scratch and win’ approach that cannot assure Batswana of victory at the games.

In the past BoBA has been assisted by Cuban coaches who did well in ensuring that boxing produced a good grade class of boxers and if both BNSC and BNOC heed the boxing call, it will be a huge step towards resuscitating the ailing ring sport.

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