By Carlos Kambaekwa
The local organizing committee (LOC) for this week’s historic boxing bonanza says everything is on track and accreditation is already in full swing at the offices of the Namibian Boxing Control Board.
The Namibia Boxing Federation will play host to the 2nd AIBA African Olympic Boxing qualifying tournament at the University of Namibia Gymnasium Hall near Pionierspark on Saturday.
According to the Secretary-General of the Federation Joe Kaperu, seventeen countries have already confirmed their participation while six are yet to ink their entry forms.
Algeria, who hosted the first leg of the two-legged Olympic qualification tournament for African Nations, are already in the country and look on course for a full quota of eleven boxers in all categories after the northern country seized home ground advantage by walking away with eight of the 33 qualifying berths in Algiers earlier this year.
With Japhet Uutoni already assured of a qualification berth, Namibia will be banking on a home crowd to urge its eight hopefuls to greater heights.
Kaperu said the Arab countries could pose a serious threat to Namibia’s aspirations of having more than one boxer in Beijing.
“Apart from the Arab-speaking countries, South Africa and Kenya will also be strong contenders and so will Botswana and Lesotho as well,” warned Kaperu.
Delegates are expected to arrive in the country on Sunday, with the medical examination, weigh-in technical briefing, draw and opening ceremony preceding the preliminary bouts which get under way in earnest on Monday, at 15h00.
Meanwhile, the president of the Namibian Boxing Federation Kelly Nghixulifwa and his sidekick Ambrose Kandjii quietly slipped out of the country over the weekend in an effort to pour cold water on the debacle surrounding Kandjii’s suspension.
The pair secretly met the president of Zone Six Boxing Victor Mohapi in Johannesburg over the weekend to clarify uncertainty hovering over Kandjii’s current status.
“We were categorically informed that Kandjii’s involvement with the local organizing committee would have nothing to do with his suspension period!” fumed Nghixulifwa.
In a communication dated the 12th of this month, the National Sports Commission requested the Namibia Amateur Boxing Association to remove Kandjii from its local organizing committee last week, but boxing officials including Nghixulifwa are pleading ignorance on the existence of such a request.
Kandii stands accused of having brought boxing into disrepute after the boxing guru angrily ordered Namibian boxers off the ring during a Zone Six boxing tournament in Botswana last year.
The long serving boxing official was apparently upset over biased umpiring – an act that did not go down exactly well with regional boxing authorities who in turn suspended Kandjii from all boxing activities under its auspices, until he faces the wrath of its disciplinary committee to answer charges of misconduct.