IN a piece titled “Can State Fail To Raise K35m For Boxers?”published in this column almost a year ago, or November 10, 2012, to be precise, I wrote that if one tried to understand everything in life, one would probably end up in Chainama Hospital as a mental case.
“This past week, even at the risk of ending up at the renowned asylum,” I wrote then,
“I’ve been trying to understand why or how the entire government, with all the financial wherewithal at its command, could possibly fail to raise a paltry K35 million to send an under-20 boxing squad to Tanzania for a friendly tournament as part of preparations ahead of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games from December 4 to 17.”
I continued that to ascertain whether government had the capacity to raise K35 million, all we needed to do was count the number of cabinet ministers who had camped in Mufumbwe for the by-election campaigns and multiply their number by their daily allowances per person and multiply these by the actual number of days spent and you’d have your answer.
From the look of things, unless I stop trying to understand why or how government systems operate, I might end up at Chainama because, like last year, government has done an encore, failing this time to send a team of four boxers to Morocco for the Kings Cup.
Readers of this column may recall my article “fights to look out for as year ends” published in this very column over two weeks ago in which I cited the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Kings Cup, as one of the important events to look out for as the year grinds to a halt.
The Kings Cup is a platform to showcase young talent from the continent by giving them the necessary exposure, I said, adding that having under performed at the 2014 Glasgow Games, the Zambian contingent, which includes Commonwealth bronze medalist Ben Muziyo, will be looking to redeem themselves by winning worthwhile medals and put themselves in pole position for next year’s inaugural African Championships.
What I’ve been trying to understand are a number of unanswered questions over the failed Morocco trip. For a start, the four boxers had been in camp at the Olympic Youth Development Centre ahead of the tournament.
The mere act of camping them meant government was serious or had the desire to send them to Morocco, unless someone can explain to me that the sole reason for camping them was to prepare them for disappointment.
Shockingly, unlike last year, this time around only a paltry K25,000 was required for tickets which Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF) president Thomas Chileshe said the federation had failed to raise while everything else was going to be catered for by the organisers.
All this was against a background of financial help pledged by the National Sports Council of Zambia which had been approached by the ZBF. Interestingly, NSCZ chairperson, Mwamba Kalenga took a jibe at the ZBF reminding them about the need to fend for themselves.
Kalenga is reported to have said ZBF should be sincere in their dealings and stop blaming the Council whenever they failed to source funds for an international assignment.
This raises a few questions. First, assuming ZBF wrote or spoke to NSCZ about funding, did ZBF make any follow up on the matter or they assumed NSCZ’s word was gospel?
At what point did the NSCZ realize it had no resources to send a team to Morocco-before or after camping the boxers? Did the ZBF submit a budget for such an important tournament ?
Assuming they did, (which may explain the camping of the boxers), how come government backed out of the deal at the 11th hour? When did ZBF and NSCZ learn about the Kings Cup?
These questions are important as they speak about the ability or a lack of it to plan.
How long are boxers, especially amateur boxers, going to be subjected to this kind of treatment by their own government which professes to support all sport disciplines?
Is Zambia going to be taken seriously by international bodies it deals with when it can pull out from important engagements like the Kings Cup without much ado which would have helped the boxers prepare ahead of the inaugural African Championships, next year?
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