Zambia by mitia on 6/15/13
By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
TWO Zambian boxers have made it to the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Zone Six boxing championships in Botswana, but all is not well in camp as the boxers are said to be starving.
Of the five boxers, Mbachi Kaonga and Obed Mutapa have sailed through to the semi-finals, while the other three have fallen off.
And instead of savouring the good news, the seven-man Zambian team in Gaborone is basically stranded after the KR20,000 contingency funds ran out and are now being threatened with eviction from the hotel.
Coach, Kennedy Kanyanta and Zambia Amateur Boxing Federation (ZABF) president, Thomas Chileshe confirmed this in separate interviews from Botswana and in Kitwe respectively.
“The Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) told us it had no money, but being an extremely important tournament, we were assisted with KR19,000 by the National Olympics Committee (NOC) and we added US$ 800 for them to just make the trip.
“But it seems the cost of living that end, is higher than anticipated so the guys are in a limbo. This is an AIBA tournament we could not miss out. It is a ranking tournament and missing out would have been worse,” Chileshe said.
Kanyanta sent a passionate appeal to the ZABF to immediately send an additional US$ 600 to help them through to the finals or they would be kicked out by the hotel management.
“We had budgeted for US$700 on accommodation but things are different and the ZABF should send us US$600 to see out the tournament otherwise we shall be thrown out on the streets. The eight of us here are sharing four rooms and this translates to $1,200 for our accommodation,” he said.
He said that soon after arrival, the contingent was forced to start buying food from the streets to cut down on hotel bills, but that they have now found a shop selling food at reasonable rates.
Kanyanta also said SCZ did not release the equipment to the team, forcing him to use his club kit for the boxers.
And Kanyanta confirmed the progression of the two boxers and remained optimist that Kaonga of Red Arrows and Obed Mutapa of Green Buffaloes would win gold medals for Zambia.
In a system that seems flawed, Kaonga has somehow made the semi-finals based on results from the previous three rounds and even a loss in the previous round was not enough to deny him a semi-final berth.
And oddly, in the semi-finals, Kaonga, a gold medalist from the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six under-20 Games, would face Botswana’s Mmusie Tswiige, the same boxer who defeated him in the previous round.
In boxing, any boxer who reaches the semi-finals is guaranteed a bronze medal and Kanyanta is hoping his boxers make it through to the finals.
After three straight wins, Kaonga was beaten in the four-round bout by Tswiige who he faces again today.
The other Zambian through to the semi-finals is Mutapa who defeated Mozambique’s Watch Antonio Macie 13-9 to book himself a place in the semi-finals and guarantee himself a medal from the games.
The other three Zambians at the games including impressive Christopher Katanga and Hector Musole both lost their bouts to Oteng Oteng and Valdo Antonio Tavede withan identical score of scores of 23-13 respectively.
But Gilbert Chombe missed a place in the last four despite defeat