Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Gloves are off at PBAB amid coronavirus

Pro boxing tournaments may be off for now due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the gloves are off at the Professional Boxing Association of Botswana (PBAB).

The association, which controls professional boxing in the country is bracing itself for its long-awaited elections.

After successive postponements due to various circumstances, PBAB has finally settled for the 24th October this year as the date for its elective General Meeting.

The contentious PBAB elections were initially slated for 2019 but were postponed after affiliates expressed displeasure with some candidates.

“When the elections were supposed to be held last year, there was a disruption as some affiliates were unhappy with the people who were campaigning for positions,” PBAB president Tsietsi ‘Shakes’ Kebualemang explains.

“The affiliates were of the view that some of the candidates had no knowledge about pro-boxing, no history and affiliation with PBAB,” he says.

Given the affiliates concerns, Kebualemang says the association had no option but to reschedule the elective general meeting.

As the elections were due, the PBAB president says his committee then notified the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to request that the elections be held in June this year. 

This was however not to be as the advent of coronavirus forced a suspension of all sporting activities, rendering the association unable to host the elective meeting.

To prepare for the upcoming elections and stop the repetition of the problems that stopped the first scheduled elections, PBAB will host a Special General Meeting (SGM) on the 29th this month (August). The SGM is to be held at the National Stadium warm up area in Gaborone.

According to Kebualemang, the objective for the SGM is to clarify election guidelines, endorse rules and the election committee as well as give clarity on the criteria for one to stand for positions. 

He says for one to be considered to stand for elections, the person should be familiar with sports administration and also have a history of facilitating pro boxing activities.

The PBAB president says affiliates need to study and follow the election guidelines to fix the previous mistakes. 

Kebualemang says as such, registration for elections and campaign will be open after the SGM.

Meanwhile, the PBAB presidents says the association is still waiting to hear from the BNSC as to when it can resume its activities.

“A few months back, PBAB hosted a consultative meeting with the clubs to share ideas with BNSC to resume the tournament,” Kebualemang explains.

During the consultative meeting, he says PBAB was advised to give the BNSC its plans to contain or stop the spread of coronavirus if activities are to resume.

He says the PBAB then engaged doctors to draft the necessary plans which have since been handed to the BNSC for approval.

“Professional Boxing is a contact sport and there is no how a boxer can get on the ring without being tested,” he explains.

As such, he says PBAB carries out HIV and Hepatitis tests on athletes before competitions and is hopeful COVID-19 can be part of the tests.

Still on the issue, he says financial struggles are hampering the association from carrying out some of its activities.

He says the association is yet to receive its annual grant from the BNSC for activities and ‘there is nothing to do without funding.’

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.