Too broke to fight

Baitshepi Sekgweng

Cash-strapped BoBA unable to host local competitions

As the not-so-new-anymore year enters the month of March, plagued by a lack of Pula power, Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) is yet to host a single Interclub Championship.

Local pugilists have not tasted competitive action in the ring since the National Championships at the start of December.

Normally held monthly, Interclub Championships are crucial to the boxing calendar, playing a big part in boxers’ preparations for international tournaments, while also giving national team selectors the opportunity to scout for new talent.

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Speaking to Voice Sport, BoBA mouthpiece Moitshepi Nkabiti admitted the association were flat broke.

Too broke to fight

“We don’t have money to host tournaments, our grant long finished last year during the time in which the national team was going to the Africa Boxing Championships,” Nkabiti confirmed.

According to the boxing spokesperson, depending on locality, it can cost anywhere between P15, 000 to P25 000 to host an Interclub tournament.

“Mostly tournaments which are outside of Gaborone are expensive and that is where we incur most of high costs. Further, we pay referees from our coffers according to AIBA standards, that’s paying their officiating fees, meals and accommodation and it’s expensive. We also had a lot of international assignments last year and those are the kind of engagements which gobbled our funds because national team had to be on camp numerous times and travel.”

Nkabiti revealed they wrote a letter to the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) last week Monday (27 February) detailing their woes and seeking both an audience and ultimately a bail out.

“We informed them of our situation and we are waiting their response this week,” he said.

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However, by Wednesday this week, BoBA were yet to hear back from the BNSC.

The cash-strapped association’s money woes are nothing new.

Last May, financial constraints meant they were unable to send a team to the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Turkey. They were also forced to cancel their Ordinary General Meeting scheduled for the end of last year.

Nkabiti further told Voice Sport that, going forward, BoBA would be exploring alternative avenues to replenish their coffers.

“We are looking at a few ideas which include: introducing registration fees at tournaments and gate takings to add to our revenue streams. However, this is something we are going to discuss first with our affiliates then take it from there,” he said.

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This is probably for the best as, judging from BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho’s comments, their SOS is unlikely to get a positive response.

“There are no opportunities for offering our members supplementary funding when they have depleted their grants because as BNSC we also don’t get anything from the government. Of course in some situations NSAs can benefit from programmes such as NSA Support and Sport Development, where we tap into those areas and take funds to help the concerned sports codes but there are requirements to do that. If things were up to us we could be increasing the grants for NSAs if we had that means. So for now we can only encourage NSAs to manage and stick to their budgets and lobby private sector for support,” advised Serufho.

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