Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Seoko and Mogajane dropped from national boxing team

Two of Botswana’s long serving Botswana national team boxers, Tirafalo Seoko and Bathusi Mogajane, have been dropped from the team that will travel to the World Boxing Championships.

The two boxers, along with another national boxer, Mmoloki Mothiba, were dropped following a meeting by the Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) executive committee earlier this week.

The trio, part of an initial five-man team that comprised of, among others, Oteng Oteng and Ofentse Kompone, were earmarked to compete at the Baku, Azerbaijan bound World Championships, which are due to begin next week Thursday.

Of the initial five men, only Kompone and Oteng have survived while Mmoloki Nogeng has been roped in as the team’s third member. According to BOBA’s Publicity and Information Secretary, Willoughby Kemoen, the move by the executive to drop the boxers was done after looking at their lacklustre performance in recent times.

“We as BOBA have always reiterated that no boxer is a permanent member of the national team. We select our national team based on performance and the three boxers fell short of our selection criterion,” Kemoen said in an interview. “The national team door is not closed for these boxers. Our decision to drop them is to give them time to regroup,” the BOBA spokesperson added.

While the dropping of Seoko may seem odd, considering his heroics at the Commonwealth Games in the past year where he won a medal and at the Zone IV Championships where he garnered a gold medal, the truth is the athlete has been off colour ever since last year’s Commonwealth Games. “We do acknowledge his achievements, but he has not performed any better nationally and his performance has been going down ever since the Commonwealth Games,” Kemoen clarified.

He says the committee, however, decided to stick with the youthful duo of Oteng and Kompone as their performances have been convincing enough. The 21-year-old Oteng won gold at this year’s All Africa Games in Maputo while 18-year-old Kompone won bronze at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man this month.

“We realise that this is a very youthful team hence the inclusion of Nogeng. He (Nogeng) is a very experienced boxer who has been to these types of games and we have roped him to give guidance and inspiration to the two youthful boxers,” the BOBA spokesperson added.

The team, which is managed by Healer Modiradilo and coached by Khumiso Ikgopoleng, is expected to leave for Baku tomorrow (Monday). Meanwhile, the dropping of the trio of Seoko, Mogajane and Mothiba means the boxers now have a mountain to climb if they are to qualify for next year’s London 2012 Olympics. With the World Boxing Championships giving gold medallists a berth at the Olympics, if selected, the trio will have one shot to make the Olympic team when they compete at the Africa Boxing Championships in April next year.

On other issues, Kemoen says BOBA was content with the performance of local boxers at the All Africa Games. Botswana boxing got three medals at the games, one short of their set target of four. The medals by the team included gold which came through Oteng.

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