Shooting From The Hip! – Boxing’s Mockery and the Grand Reho Derby

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Carlos Kambaekwa

The latest debacle between the Namibian Boxing Federation and the country’s sports authorities cannot be left unchallenged.

Of course, the boxers have a legitimate concern in questioning the rationale behind taking more officials than handlers to this year’s Beijing Olympics, but the fashion in which the matter was addressed invites a significant amount of answers.

It’s a well documented secret that trouble has been brewing within the boxing fraternity over the shoddy treatment meted out to boxers during major international events, whilst boxing officials have chosen to keep a tight lid on the boiling pot.

The boxing discipline is going to be represented by three athletes with the same number of officials initially penciled in to accompany the trio to the global showpiece, but up to now the boxing federation has not been able to explain in detail the actual functions of the two officials in the Chinese capital.

What makes the whole process a mockery is the fashion in which the boxers went about in expressing their dissatisfaction over the inclusion of the two officials at the expense of a trainer.

The boxers apparently tiptoed to the line ministry where they stated their case in no uncertain terms to a high ranking comrade who holds a ministerial portfolio, and the brother who is no stranger to controversies, wasted little time and flexed his muscles by ordering his sub-ordinates to offload one of the fingered officials to make space for his preferred candidate.

When the request was decoded to the embattled federation – it was met with the slogan of “an injury to one is an injury to all” and the two comrades resolved to gang up and unpacked their bags – leaving sports authorities with egg on their faces.

Not that the pair really had a leg to stand on but sometimes as humans we are inclined to be driven by principals, and the aggrieved officials had every reason to tell the sports authorities where the get off exactly. As much as we are obliged to guard against malpractices and unjustified favouritism in sport – we should also refrain from interference by influential forces as this practice could have the potential of creating an atmosphere of uneasiness between athletes and officials.

There’s this misplaced perception amongst a good chunk of sport officials that the particular disciplines they were democratically elected to serve is now their own entities.

Sport officials should stop behaving as if they are immune to scrutiny and subsequent criticism when they fail to execute their functions to the extreme satisfaction of the very same subjects who are solely responsible for their togetherness.

Boxing officials in particular have become a law unto themselves, even going to the length of threatening journalists when they pen down a few lines which are not to their liking.

The man at the centre of the storm just happened to question a few wrongs within the boxing family in the interest of the main players in the business – the boxers. However, the brother was grounded without a charge or even a hearing for that matter, courtesy of his outspokenness – that’s crystal victimization and must not be tolerated in a democratic society.

Rehoboth Derby “the real McCoy”

Thousands of spectators flocked into the tiny Reho Stadium last weekend to watch the local derby between the Rehoboth and Falcons Rugby Fifteens and what entertainment it turned out to be!

It was rugby out of the top drawer with both teams dishing out some HARDEGAT stuff out there – much to the delight of the fans who came out in large numbers to shout their lungs out (in between some unprintable slang) for their favourite teams.

The spirit amongst the fans was top class and this sort of attitude certainly had the desired effect on the players who lifted their game by playing real rugby … and here I mean running with the oval ball, not the kind of “wrestling” we have been subjected to these days under the guise of modern rugby.

It was the kind of rugby that took me back to my Kamashona days when we were privileged enough to watch the likes of the legendary Jan Ellis, Dagga Engelbrecht, Jerry Catherine and in the intervening years Andre Stoop, Gerhard Mans and Willem Maritz in action at the old National Rugby Stadium, albeit from extremely awkward angles since being in close proximity of Laanies was viewed as a crime by the baton-wielding Bowker Boys.

From what I’ve observed, the Rehoboth Derby is not getting the recognition it so dearly deserves and the organizers must start utilizing this particular occasion to the maximum and put the town of Rehoboth in the spotlight.

The Rehoboth derby is only second to the adrenaline-pumping Black Africa/Pirates derby on the local sport calendar in terms of attendance and enthusiasm and must be treated accordingly, period!

Before I sign off, let me doff my Kori for Tom Saintfiet for reaching the quarterfinals of the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup – this dude is certainly not your average Tom around the corner and must have something up his sleeve.
I’m very much impressed with his team selection.

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