A team of three Malawi amateur boxers left on Sunday for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games African qualifiers scheduled for Dakar Arena, Senegal, minus a team doctor.
Malawi Boxing Association (Maba) General Secretary, Elia Kamphinda Banda, said the boxers, Harvey Mkacha [not the footballer], Snowden Munyanje and Yamikani Mtambo, have traveled with trainer Andy Muyaya.
However, Kamphinda Banda said they were not comfortable that the team has travelled without a doctor and leader of delegation for the qualifiers, which will start from tomorrow to February 29 2020.
“We are hopeful that the boys will perform according to instructions. However, in future we hope that the government must ensure that no matter how few boxers are, the team must include a doctor and manager so that the coach must concentrate on technical areas. Again the corporate world must also turn to support this sport,” Kamphinda Banda said.
“In such circumstances, we make arrangements with our counterparts from neighbouring countries so that their team doctors can help treat our boxers when they get injured but it becomes a problem when their boxer is also injured as it means they give priority to theirs. All we have done is to buy insurance cover for our boxers for the qualifying bouts.”
He said Maba was not dealing with the government directly as the preparations were being coordinated by Malawi Olympic Committee (Moc) which paid for the athletes’ accommodation and air tickets estimated at K6 million.
Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture spokesperson, Symon Mbvundula, Monday said Malawi National Council of Sports was placed better to react to the concerns.
Nonetheless, speaking before departure, the boxers said they were ready to showcase their talent having undergone camp training in Zambia recently.
Mkacha, 63 kilogrammes (kg), downplayed the absence of the doctor and leader of delegation.
“We have had intensive training and we received enough support. We promise to bring back home silverware,” he said.
Muyaya echoed Mkacha’s remarks saying: “Our aim is to bring home gold medals. There are three medals at stake– bronze, silver and gold but our target is gold.”
At the qualifiers, outstanding 22 male boxers and 11 females will earn the ticket to the Olympic Games out of the 221 athletes from 39 nations.
The athletes will compete in flyweight category (48 to 52kg), featherweight (52 to 57 kg), lightweight (57 to 63kg), welterweight (63kgs to 69kg), middleweight (69 to 75kg), light heavyweight (75 to 81 kgs), heavyweight (81 to 91kg) and superheavyweight (+91kg).
Peter Kanjere is a versatile Journalist currently working for Times Group as Assistant Editor for The Daily Times.
With vast experience in the industry, he is also an accomplished Sports Analyst, whose exploits in sports reporting and analysis span beyond the length and breadth of the African continent.