By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
THE Zambia Amateur Boxing Federation (ZABF) has promised to replicate the 2002 Commonwealth Games feat of minting a gold medal at the 2014 Glasgow Games in Scotland.
ZABF will today hold its annual general meeting to set in motion a programme of activities towards winning gold medal this year.
This AGM is coming three months ahead of schedule and is aimed at putting the clubs and the boxers on their feet to ensure the Zambian national anthem in Scotland in July this year.
ZABF president Thomas Chileshe, who was in charge of the organisation in 2002 when Kennedy Kanyanta struck gold in Manchester, declared 2014 as a year of action where Zambian boxers will shine at the Commonwealth Games.
Chileshe, however, said winning gold could only be attainable through a chain of coordinated events.
“That is why we are calling this meeting early. We want to outline our plan to the clubs and the plan is mainly to win a gold medal and we want to tell them what we expect from them. We have done a few things and we want them to do their part,” he said.
Chileshe was then Amateur Boxing Association of Zambia (ABAZ) president when he helped Kanyanta to win a Commonwealth gold medal in England.
Kanyanta remains only the second Zambian after Lottie Mwale to mint a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in any sporting discipline.
Coached by Elias Kataya, Kanyanta minted gold while the other team member Davy Mwale won a bronze medal.
“We want 2014 to be like 2002, a year in which we won a gold medal at the Commonwealth and we have a number of promising boxers. So we shall do everything in our power to get them ready. This year is critical and we want to start early,” he said.
He said the boxing season would start early in February instead of April to ensure the boxers were at their peak going into the ‘Club’ Games.
Last week, Chileshe announced the cancellation of camping for both the senior and junior national team, saying the boxers needed to be subjected to further trials as it had been long time since they last fought.
He said in an effort to leave no stone unturned, the federation wanted to look at more quality boxers, some of whom could have recently matured or improved so that Zambia sends the best team to the Glasgow Games.
Chileshe said ZABF was also looking ahead and wanted the under-20 team to have just the best as it attempts to tackle the continental at the African Youth Championships in Botswana in May and the Nanjing Youth Olympics in August.
“The under-20 who will go to the Nanjing Youth Olympics are probably the same guys who will for the core of the Rio 2016 Olympics so they need to be handled well as the results in Nanjing will be the same in Rio,” he said.
He also announced the appointment of Gibson Kasonde as national training coordinator for all boxing teams.
Chileshe said Kasonde’s experience and dedication was important in a year like this one.