Let’s make positive changes in boxing

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IMMINENT changes in the running of the affairs of boxing in Zimbabwe are very much welcome and we are positive that fortunes will turn for the better in the not distant future.

NewsDay Editorial

The old board, dissolved last November, has been in office for far too long – since Independence in 1980 – and no wonder in the last two decades there has been no fresh thinking in the revival of the sport, let alone its funding.

From the days of Lorraine Muringi and Phillip Chiyangwa to Stalin Mau Mau and the late Jeff Dube, no other promoter has come up with a plan to resuscitate the sport.

This was not because the funding was not there, but because the leadership lacked the necessary expertise to harness the funding.

In the last few years, Zimbabwe has produced African champions in Thamsanqa Dube and Tineyi Maridzo, but the pair failed to defend their titles due to lack of funds. When Dube eventually managed to do so, he was ring-rusty and was pummelled by Flo Simba.

Of late Zimbabwean boxers have been trekking to Namibia for non-title fights. Basically, local boxers have been growing the Namibian boxing industry with no benefit to Zimbabwe and for very little gain in terms of finances.

At the same time, this shows there is something happening there that is not taking place in Zimbabwe. Somebody is working, organising funding fights while we sit and complain about lack of funding yet we do not even have structures.

The boxing board, then led by Richard Hondo, said their only duty was to licence promoters and regulate fights and not sourcing funding. This means there is something fundamentally wrong with their constitution.

Last Saturday, an organisation called the Zimbabwe Boxing Committee called a meeting in Harare where they discussed, among other issues, the amendment of the current Boxing and Wrestling Control Act, adoption of international standards, inclusion of both genders and the registration of boxers, coaches, managers and promoters.

The stakeholders also looked at issues to do with pension scheme and medical aid schemes as well as Government funding for the sport.
It therefore remains our hope once Minister of Sport David Coltart has finished his consultations on the new board, a fine group of persons will take office for a limited time and will be resourced to find a way to revive the sport.

Coltart’s task is not to please anyone. His task is to appoint knowledgeable people about the sport, people who have the right connections to bring funding from the corporate sector and can take the sport forward.

It’s a tired excuse that there is no Government funding in sport because it remains a fact that treasury will not fund it. While we admit sport is an industry, the Government has more pressing issues like civil servants salaries, water issues in Bulawayo and Harare, electricity woes and closure of industry to think about.

If Government cannot fund a popular sport like football, there will certainly be no funding for a minor sport like boxing.

So anybody who accepts this task from Coltart must be ready to work hard.