Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) members have taken off their gloves for a bare knuckles fight with the association’s President Dr Thato Patlakwe and his Executive Committee members.
A BoBA internal revolt started bubbling into the surface following failure by local boxers to qualify for the Rio Olympics slated for August 5th ÔÇô 21st this year.
Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that a section of the local boxing fraternity is lobbying to oust BoBA’s current executive committee which is led by Dr Patlakwe.
Since the committee took over the leadership of BoBA in 2014, it will be the first in 24 years that Botswana has failed to send a boxer to the World’s biggest sporting showpiece.
The disgruntled BoBA faction is rooting for the previous committee led by former President Michael Moroka. They argue that Moroka is a member of AIBA which is recognised internationally and this places him in a better position to spearhead the growth of local boxing.
The former President of Zone IV Boxing Confederation and an AIBA referee’s stint at BoBA was cut short in 2014 when he lost elections to Dr Patlakwe.
The faction lobbying for Moroka’s return argue that his experience is needed to revive regional the association’s verve.
BoBA Spokesperson Kenny Maragana however dismissed all talk of an internal revolt.
‘’At the moment there has never been any signs of dissatisfaction concerning performance of the executive committee. Our committee has not had many years on their mandate and we are still building a concrete plan that will take local boxing to another respectable level,” said Maragana.
He told Sunday Standard Sports that the former committee was ousted because it was not performing. ‘’The previous committee was not delivering that is why they were voted out so it should be known that we are at a foundation stage. We might have failed to qualify for Rio Olympics but it is not all over, we are trying to build and we cannot be judged by the Rio failure,” said Maragana.
He concluded by revealing that during the qualifiers they were handicapped by the dearth of experienced boxers. ‘’The likes of Oteng Oteng could not make it to the qualifiers due to academic commitments while Kagiso Bagwasi had issues of preparations. Environmental factors were also key and affected our athletes performance at the qualifiers in Yaound├®, Cameroon,” said Maragana.
The Olympic dream began in 1992 when France Mabiletsa qualified for Barcelona after failing to make it to 1998 Seoul Olympics due to work commitments. Healer Modiradilo was the only boxer to qualify for 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was followed by another sole representative Gilbert Khunwane at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The Olympic berth continued in 2004 when Khumiso Ikgopoleng and Master Luza qualified for Athens Olympics.
Luza made a double in 2008 appearing consecutively representing the country at the Athens Olympics joined by Thato Batshegi. In 2012 Oteng Oteng made it to the London Olympics.