The President of the Namibia Amateur Boxing Federation (NBF) Benjamin Rabang said the lack of development of amateur boxing countrywide,
especially in the South, the Zambezi and in the Kavango regions was of concern to the organisation.
Rabang said that he is aware that lack of funds was hampering the growth of the sport in the southern part of the country and the far North-East.
Presently, NBF does not receive financial funding from Government, in particular from the ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service or from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), the custodian of sport.
To make matters worse, the NBF also does not get financial support from the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB), which gets annual funding of nearly N$1 million from Government to develop the sport of boxing in the country.
Currently, only Khomas, Erongo, Kunene and four northern regions (Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto) have active amateur boxing events, while the rest of the regions have fallen behind in terms of developing amateur boxing at the grassroots level.
“In the South of the country way back during my boxing time for example, the town of Oranjemund used to have great amateur boxers such as Nestor Tobias, Harry ‘Terminator’ Simon, Erastus David and Hiskia Swartz.
“In the heavyweight division, there was a boxer by the name of Tobias Munyango. After Munyango, boxing just died in the South. Currently in Keetmanshoop there is a Titus Amunyela who is busy reviving amateur boxing. In Lüderitz I have heard that there is a guy trying to get things moving,” the Amateur Boxing president said.
“The reason why boxing was so active in the South in the past, was because there were companies such as Consolidated Diamond Mines (today Namdeb) and Rössing Uranium that used to sponsor boxing. But, now, without that same financial support, I am worried that boxing is dead in the South. I still dream that boxing will be revived somehow.
“Last year we received N$150,000 from the NSC, but this year we did not receive anything because of the budget cut at the ministry of sport. We have not been receiving a cent from Government since last year. We also do not receive funding from the control board because the two bodies do not work closely together,” Rabang told Windhoek Observer this week in an interview.
Rabang said his office continues to work tirelessly to recruit sponsors to develop boxing in all 14 regions of the country.
From 30 August to 01 September, NBF will host an amateur boxing tournament in the Zambezi Regions, aimed at promoting amateur boxing in that region.
Jonas Junias Jonas is currently the country’s top amateur boxer and he hails from Swakopmund in the Erongo Region.
Jonas won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia this year, having also won a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
“In the past, boxing was a sport at the school level. As we speak, some of us have to fork out from our own pockets just to make amateur boxing feasible. Next year, we want to have an amateur boxing tournament in the South in order to attract South African boxers to come take part in the tournament, while developing a good relation at amateur level,” Rabang said.
Titus Amutenya, a trainer and owner of Keetmanshoop boxing Club also admitted that boxing in the South is dead due to lack of sponsorship.
“I have written numerous letters to companies in our area asking about sponsorships. Pupkewitz responded to me, but told me that they do not have money right now.
“I use my own resources to assist boxers at my gym. The youngest boxer at the academy is 15 years and the oldest is 27 years of age. Transport remains another problem that is why we hardly attend tournaments in other regions. I only have six boxers.
“Another reason why boxing is not growing here is because most people in the region prefer netball, football and volleyball. We are were supposed to go to the Zambezi Region for matches, but we still do not have transport,” complained Amutenya, a former boxer from 2002 to 2008.
Chief administrator at NSC, Freddy Mwiya said that the commission no longer gives money to federations or associations unlike in the past.
“We do not give NBF funding in cash as it was in the old days. The reason is because of the economic difficulties in the country. We can, however, cover things like transport and there are procedures that must be followed to access this funding. The federations and associations need to get extra funding from the corporate world,” Mwiya said.