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Personal battles, egos rip BOBA apart

National team coach, Letchedzani “Master” Luza

The battle of settling personal vendettas and egoism is said to be prevailing at the Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) offices following the controversial demotion of the national team coach, Letchedzani “Master” Luza amid accusations of indiscipline.

The former national team boxer and 2000 Olympics medallist, has since been replaced by veteran, Johannes Ditlhabang with the former expected to assist the latter, something which reports indicate he has labelled as an “insult”.

According to WeekendSports investigations, the plan to oust Luza was long orchestrated as early as last month when he was dropped when the team went to the World Championship in Doha, Qatar.  At that time, he was instead sent off to attend IOC course.

The demotion of Luza has not been taken lightly by some within the BoBA family as they vehemently maintain it is efforts to settle personal battles. Unlike Ditlhabang, Luza possesses the new testament of the Aiba Open Boxing (AOB) and the 3 star coaching licence which allows him to coach at any level in the world. After the World boxing body, AIBA, changed some of the regulations to allow boxers to exchange blows without gloves, head guard and the new points scoring, Luza was one of the few coaches suitable for the job but the relevant stakeholders thought otherwise. “We would have wanted someone with a better qualification to take over not an under-qualified to replace a better candidate,” a source told this paper. It is contended that Ditlhabang, other than being under-qualified, he also does not have the experience as would be expected. There are fears that his appointment is likely to backfire as the team prepares for next year’s Olympics qualifications where it is argued that continuity is vital for the team progress rather than changing coaches now and then.

While the coaches’ commission has gotten its share of condemnation, sources say the Executive Committee, especially the President, Dr Thato Patlakwe is the kingpin in the grand-plan to oust Luza. “The President seems to be bitter as Luza always has answers to their complaints, not that he is rude but because he understand the technicalities of the sport and the powers that be feel undermined by his answers. So they wanted someone who will dance to their tune,” the source said. Efforts to get hold of the President and the technical wing to respond to the allegation did not materialise as the President and Sport Development Officer (SDO), Healer Modiradilo’s mobile numbers were not going through at the time of going to press.

The technical arm of the association, headed by Gibson Rauwe, whose understanding of modern boxing is also questioned, has been labelled a toothless dog. Another source stated, “at first it was suggested to the commission that either Thebe Setlalekgosi, Gilbert Khunwane, Khumiso Ikgopoleng or Luza lead the team, but we were shocked to learn that inactive Ditlhabang has been given the reigns. We wanted someone who has a 3 star coaching license and who has been on the ground.”

Also, the ascension of Rauwe to the VP Technical post following the resignation of Tabona Phaladzi has also not went down well with some as they argue that Rauwe is technically challenged and it will be a toll order for him to supervise people with better knowledge.  

The association will hold the preliminaries of the national championship today, albeit without a sponsor. The championship will be held next week before this year’s award ceremony.    
 

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