Professional boxing continues to show growth in the local scene four years since the new sport code officially became an affiliate of the Botswana National Sports Commission. Leading the charge is the Gaborone based Bond Boxing Stable which held a successful boxing card this past weekend.
The box and dine card featured four professional matches and two amateur bouts. In an interview with Sun Sports this week, prolific boxing promoter, Bond Ngubula said there are signs of growth as local sports enthusiasts are starting to warm up to professional boxing.
“I can say that there is growth as we brought two new sponsors into our event this past weekend. Unfortunately, one of our would be sponsors dropped out at the last moment, leaving us with a deficit,” he said. Ngubula said the numbers were impressive compared to the previous event they held at Boipuso Hall earlier this year.
“There were about 200 seats and almost all of them were filled. Unfortunately, we did not sell many corporate tables compared to our previous event. Nevertheless, not all the seats were paid for, we have stakeholders that require complimentary tickets.
This means about 50 tickets were complimentary,” he said. Quizzed on how his stable acquires sponsorship in the harsh economic climate, Ngubula said it all boils down to how he packages his product. “One of our worst events was held at the Gaborone City Council hall, which turned out to be a poor venue. The event was not of good quality so it did not attract sponsorship.”
Ngubula says since he is a private company, there is no need to consult many people when making decisions and seeking sponsorship. Ngubula argued that the problem of sponsorship drought plaquing many sport codes is that they remain as societies and this has a bearing on how they run their business.
In societies many people need to be consulted and meetings have to be held before a decision is taken. The boxing promoter gave an example of Premier League champions, Township Rollers who have since taken the route of privatization. “It is important to engage sponsors and provide them with maximum mileage.
We keep on engaging our sponsors on all media platforms. We call them whenever we do interviews in the media. The stable also coaches the boxers on self-branding and how to behave in public.”
Ngubula said he was impressed with how his three boxers competed on the night.
Our super bantamweight, Thabiso Mpolokang showed improvement while our event boxers, Tshepiso Mokgadi lost to Zimbabwean rival, Philip Musariri in a very close fight. The next Bond boxing promotion is scheduled for March or April next year.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.
Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.
“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.
Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.
“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.
Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.
“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.
Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe. No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.
Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.
However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”
Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.
However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.