THIS past week there was what one would call sad and good news for the Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF).
First, the bad news. At this time of writing, ZBF had a shortfall of K25,000 on its K185, 000 budget to send a contingent of 12 boxers and officials to India for the AIBA India amateur invitation tournament.
ZBF had painstakingly managed to source part of the money before the state pumped in K50,000 followed by the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) which injected a further K25,000.
The two amounts, while reasonable against other equally competing needs,weren’t enough to cut a deficit to K25,000, hours before the squad’s planned departure for the tournament.
It is imperative that the squad travels for this important preparatory tournament ahead of the Commonwealth Games later in the year. The fighters would be in good stead to represent Zambia effectively at the Games after gaining exposure at the India outing.
The state and SCZ deserve commendation for rising pretty quickly to the occasion to bridge the shortfall that would have been more difficult to reduce without their timely response. Of course, ZBF would have been happier with a one-off clearance of the deficit.
Which brings me to the good news. Rather than looking a gift horse in its mouth,ZBF has taken a positive attitude towards the state and SCZ gestures by facing and accepting reality. After all, a good deed deserves another in turn, doesn‘t it? General secretary Bright Chomba said if the federation failed to close the K25,000 shortfall by departure time, the boxing body would trim the travelling party to India by dropping one boxer and some officials as a last resort. Officials would be dropped first, which I think is the correct and logical thing to do.
Considering past challenges, the current situation is a great improvement and gives one cause for optimism that things could look up for ZBF this year. In short,good tidings appear to be on the horizon.
Recall that last year, the federation planned to send a contingent of 12 boxers to the Congo Brazzaville boxing tournament which ran from June 17-25, but managed to send half the number. The Federation also failed to secure sponsorship for two female boxers to participate in another tournament in India.
By trimming the squad, ZBF would have effectively put into practice the adage,cut your cloth according to your size. If you have a “bulk-carriers-of-Zambia”size, isn‘t it foolhardy imprudent and impractical to try and squeeze yourself in to a slim-fit?
Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee deserves praise for awarding seven Zambian athletes, including middleweight boxer Ben Muziyo, scholarships ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The scholarship for Muziyo entitles him to camp in Paris, France where he would undergo a regimen of rigorous training ahead of the Tokyo qualifiers. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think developments like this bode well for the sport. It’s up to Muziyo to embrace this unlikely offer and do what it takes to go and produce results that will bring pride and glory to Zambia in Japan come 2020.
Such chances are few and far between and those who are picked should not let down their sponsors.
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