The outgoing Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) senior national team coach, Khumiso Ikgopoleng, says he will not be lost to local boxing. The 35- year-old coach, who has been in the employ of the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) as the Sports Development Officer (SDO) attached to boxing, quit his job this past week for greener pastures. Ikgopoleng will be leaving the country this coming Thursday for a job as a coach at a club in Colorado, United States of America (USA). The news of Ikgopoleng’s resignation from BNSC comes as a blow as he was one of the country’s three highly qualified star coaches.
At the time of his resignation, the former featherweight boxer had been at the helm of the senior national boxing team for at least four years, having taken the reigns in 2011. Speaking in an interview, Ikgopoleng, who arrived back in the country this past Wednesday from a boxing related course in Switzerland confirmed his departure from local boxing. “I can confirm that I have resigned my post as the SDO at the BNSC. As any employee in any company, I have found another offer which I believe was too good to pass and I have decided to take it,” Ikgopoleng explained. The departing SDO says though he had enjoyed his role as a coach, he believed the new offer extended to him will help him grow as a coach, hence his acceptance of the offer. “I love boxing and I love coaching. As the SDO attached to boxing, I had volunteered to coach our national team. This new job I’ll be taking offers me an opportunity to concentrate on coaching boxing and being paid to do it full time. It is an opportunity I cannot allow to pass,” Ikgopoleng explained.
While sad to leave the country, Ikgopoleng said the allure of coaching at Colorado was too much to resist. “The state of Colorado houses the US Olympic Centre where their boxing teams camp and train for major games. For me, this will be an opportunity to benchmark and learn, something which I believe will benefit not only me, but also Botswana boxing in the future,” he said. On his future role in Botswana boxing, the outgoing coach said he will always be available to help whenever BoBA needs his expertise. He however admitted such help will be governed by whether BoBA and his new employers agree on his services, something which he hopes his employers will always consider. “There will be times when I will come back home for personal business and when I am around, I will try help as much as I can if needed,” Ikgopoleng explained. Concerning his stint at the helm of Botswana’s boxing national team, Ikgopoleng said he is happy with what he has achieved since taking over. “When I first came in, Botswana had never won a gold medal in the All Africa Games. This is despite an array of talented coaches, some of whom had come from Cuba, who coached the team. During my tenure, we managed to win a gold medal and I believe we are on track to achieve more,” he said. On whether his departure would not affect Botswana’s preparations for the upcoming continental tournaments, which will include the African Confederation Boxing Championships and the All Africa Games, Ikgopoleng said he is leaving the team in capable hands of other coaches like Lechedzani Luza and Emmanuel Galeboe, who he had been working with.
“We have been working as a team with other coaches who were shadowing me. I believe they have learnt more from me as much as I learnt a lot from them. I have also made a programme for the coming games and I am hopeful it will help guide their preparations for major games this year,” he said.