Botswana national team boxers are expected to trade leather with their South African counterparts this coming weekend in preparations for the upcoming international competitions.
The outing will be the first for newly appointed national boxing team coach, Khumiso Ikgopoleng.
Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA)’s Publicity and Information Secretary, Willoughby Kemoen, said the newly appointed mentor and his charges are expected to start their camp once they return from the Kang interclub boxing championships, which were held yesterday (Saturday).
The BOBA Publicity and Information Secretary Ikgopoleng is expected to take the reins of the national team on the 28th of this month, after he (Ikgopoleng) was released from his employment at the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC).
“We have already received the letter releasing Ikgopoleng from his employment at the BNSC. He has signed a one year contract with BOBA and is expected to lead the team to next year’s Olympics in London,” Kemoen told Standard Sport.
Ikgopoleng is one of the highest qualified local boxing coaches and is a holder of an AIBA coaching licence.
For the clash against South Africa, Ikgopoleng has at his disposal a competitive team of 15 boxers to select his best team. He says the only category which has one athlete is the 60 kg category, which is dominated by national team captain, Mmoloki Nogeng.
He, however, says they expect to have one more athlete to fight Nogeng for the slot saying this is expected to happen once boxers return from interclub championships.
The tentative team includes, among others, emerging boxers like Thabang Motsewabeng and Alphious Farmer.
Kemoen says for the preliminary team, they have chosen two boxers in each category.
“Each of these athletes has a chance to make the national team and none is an automatic choice for the national colours,” Kemoen told Standard Sport.
Farmer, in particular, was very outstanding in the past year and his inclusion, along with that of his category nemesis and national team boxer, Tirafalo Seoko, means the latter will have to fight hard if he is to retain his spot in the national team.
Kemoen says South Africa will be sending a strong eleven-man senior national team to face Botswana.
On other issues, the BOBA Publicity and Information Secretary says he is ‘delighted that boxing affiliates have already paid their subscription fees before any obstructions could take place,’ thus paving way for boxing calendar of events to progress as planned.
He says as for now, they are trying to find the nearest date possible to ‘rearrange their Ordinary General Assembly’ (OGM), which was cancelled last week. Kemoen says with the importance of the meeting in mind, it will need to be convened as soon as possible so as to ‘chart the way forward for local boxing.’