BOXERS’ preparations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games have suffered a major setback after failing to travel for an International Boxing Association (AIBA) Africa championship in South Africa.
This is after the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) allegedly failed to release money to enable the pugilists travel for AIBA Africa championship that starts on Monday and the boxers were expected to have left June 13th.
The AIBA Africa championship will see all Commonwealth Games bound boxing teams on the continent competing as part of preparations for the July event with AIBA expected to unveil new boxing rules.
Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF) president Thomas Chileshe expressed disappointment in an interview yesterday, saying the boxing body submitted its 2014 programmes to the SCZ in December last year but wondered why money has not be released for the trip.
“We are not happy with the way things have been handled by the relevant authority that should be at the centre of promoting sports in the country. Our boxers are in the dark on participating in the Africa Boxing Championship.
“The Sports Council of Zambia has been aware of this programme since last year and we are surprised that they have told us that we were not budgeted for in the grants.
“We are very disappointed because taking part in the Africa championship would have exposed our boxers ahead of the Commonwealth Games,” Chileshe said.
Chileshe said the boxers felt hard done because they would lag behind in terms of the new rules that AIBA was expected to unveil during the competition adding that the same rules might be applied at the Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile, national boxing team coach Kennedy Kanyanta said he felt frustrated that the boxers had not been accorded adequate preparations in readiness for the Commonwealth Games.
Kanyanta said in an interview that the Commonwealth stage was of high magnitude and that the boxers needed enough international exposure to compete favourably.
He said the fact that the South Africa trip was on shaky ground, Zambian boxers had been denied an opportunity to win medals in Scotland.
“I cannot gauge the preparedness of boxers in the gym but I need to expose them through international tournaments. I have fought at the Commonwealth Games three times and when I won a gold medal in 2002, I was adequately exposed and prepared for the competition after going through intensive training and fights with top class boxers in Tunisia.
“I am not happy with the preparations because I would have wanted the boxers to be exposed internationally as I proposed earlier,” he said.
When contacted for a comment, SCZ chairperson Mwamba Kalenga said he was not aware of the boxers’ plight and referred all queries to the secretariat.
The boxing team comprises Mbachi Kaonga, Bwalya Lumbwe, Charles Lumbwe, Ben Muziyo, Christopher Katanga and Joshua Chimfwembe while Chester Simpungwe, Lawrence Mukuta, Danny Banda and Chilufya Chikwanda are on standby.
Times of Zambia