MASERU — After nearly a year of turmoil the Lesotho Amateur Boxing Association (LABA) can now start to get its ship back on track.
The LABA finally elected a new executive committee at its general congress last Saturday after 12 months of stalling.
As a rule the LABA board elections should correspond with the Olympiad’s four-year cycle.
Elections should have taken place after the Beijing Olympic Games last September.
However congress was deferred numerous times owing to disagreements and disorganisation within the LABA.
When the congress finally took place last Saturday it saw the appointment of an all new 10-men executive panel.
The elections were not without controversy though as half the LABA’s congress stayed away, including three associate sides — Fokothi, Khubetsoana and Tšosane.
In all there are 14 registered LABA boxing outfits, but only nine voted after problems with both the NUL Rovers and Makoanyane teams at the assembly.
Despite the setbacks newly-elected LABA president Takatso Ramakhula (pictured) is confident of a new era for boxing in Lesotho.
Boxing has always been one of the country’s more successful disciplines. The sport has in the past enjoyed medal success in regional, continental and international arena.
It was also one of only two disciplines that represented Lesotho at last year’s Olympics.
But boxing has experienced a lull over the past year. Lesotho failed to win any gold medals at this year’s Zone VI games staged in Maseru.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times Ramakhula is under no illusions about the work that lies ahead.
“Firstly we want to form a reform commission. That is of the uppermost importance at the moment,” Ramakhula says. “This commission will scrutinise the past running of boxing and establish where we should go from here. This will be done by corporate governance experts (and) they will look at our structures and formulate a constitution.”
National team structures will need some rebuilding, as Lesotho’s performance at the Zone VI games showed.
“We have a boxer (Moshoeshoe Mokhachane) in Italy (World Championships) if he performs well he will qualify for the 2012 Olympics training programme,” Ramakhula says. “(But) we need to focus on preparing a team for the 2012 Olympics, the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the Youth Olympics in 2010. This team will have to qualify for next year’s World Championships in France as well.”
For the first time women’s boxing will be part of the Olympics, and it’s a development that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Ramakhula.
“We have to make sure that we have a women’s team at the SCSA (Supreme Council of Sports in Africa) games in Swaziland next year and hopefully at the All-Africa Games in Mozambique in 2011,” Ramakhula says.
“The standard of women’s boxing is good in the Maluti region — Mokhotlong, Qacha and Mohale’s Hoek. Somehow we need to ensure that they are taken care of but also develop women’s boxing throughout the country.”
The second step is to form a national league. This will be difficult given the landscape of the country.
“We need to form a national boxing league. That will enable us to rank our boxers and help with selections for the national team. It will provide us with a better pool of boxers.”
That is part of the LABA’s plan, to ensure continuity through succession planning and avoid the hassles that have been experienced this year.
“I want to focus on this board,” Ramakhula says. “We have to have stability. We have a lot of young people that we aim to groom so that when we retire they take over from us,” he says.
“The passion for boxing is there in Lesotho we just need to give a proper platform.”
But can there be assurances that this will be indeed a change for the future? Will there still not be the same problems?
“To achieve all our objectives will be hard of course (because) money is always a problem. (But) we as an association have to go out and court the business community to support us. Something like a league for instance cannot happen without the necessary funds,” Ramakhula said.
Lesotho Amateur Boxing Association board:
President: Takatso Ramakhula
Vice-president: Liphalo Moeketsi
Secretary general: Motloang Molapo
Vice secretary general: Thabiso Mokuoane
Treasurer: Moeketsi Maitin
Public relations officer: Motlalekhotso Mabula
National coach: Lehlohonolo Lebotsa
Sports organiser: Thabiso Moteane
Executive members: Sebusiso Kektsi, Pekenya Ntoane
Ex-officio member: Makhetha Mosotho