The Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) president, Michael Moroka, says the country stays to benefit from its amalgamation into Zone 4.
This follows the dissolution of Zone 6 at the recent Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA) conference, which saw countries from the Southern African zone being amalgamated into zone 4.
The congress, which was held on the 1st and 2nd of November at Almaty, Kazakhstan, also appointed the BOBA president to be the Zone 4 president. Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, Moroka said the new zone will, beside SADC countries, also incorporate countries like Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and the Comoros Islands.
He further added that the merger means there will be more competition for Botswana’s amateur pugilists, which can only help better the quality of their competition.
“The Mauritians are very competitive in boxing. If you remember well, our boxers went to Mauritius before the commonwealth games to train there. Now we have them in the zone and this means we will be competing with them regularly,” Moroka told Standard Sport.
Moroka says the merger came about after the amateur boxing governing body realized that boxing’s progress in the African continent, more especially in the southern region, was stagnant.
He says this was even more visible in the zone that Mauritius was previously in, which the governing body believed was not very competitive. He says to improve the standard of boxing in the continent, new zonal and continental tournaments will soon be introduced.
He says with these tournaments, an all African team will be selected to face other continental teams abroad. On his election to head Zone 4, Moroka says this shows confidence that the international amateur boxing fraternity has in him and Botswana to spearhead the revitalization of boxing in the region. The BOBA chief is, however, under no illusion as to the difficult task that lies ahead as he tries to rebuild boxing regionally.
“This is a very difficult task, but I believe it can be done. I will try my best. As part of the tasks that lie ahead, we have to get a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and we have to start preparations now,” he told Standard Sport.
Moroka says he will be convening a zonal meeting in December to select a committee to lead Zone 4. He further added that the meeting will help open the way for the zone to consult and find their problems, which he will then pass on to AIBA for them to try and help rectify. Moroka says AIBA has already appointed a consultant to help look into problems affecting boxing in Africa, adding that the consultant is expected here early next year to assess the situation. On other issues, the BOBA chief says his presidency of Zone 4 will afford Botswana the opportunity to know firsthand what is happening within the boxing fraternity.