Gloves off as boxing votes

Exchanging punches: Leadership changes loom in boxing PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Exchanging punches: Leadership changes loom in boxing PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Four candidates are in the presidential race as the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) goes to the polls on Saturday at the Woodland hotel in Gaborone.

Vice president Gilbert Khunwane, secretary-general Moremi Lefiri, former executive committee member Dirang Thipe, and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) board member and ex-BoBA president Michael Moroka are all in the presidential contest to replace the outgoing Dr Thato Patlakwe. It is also interesting to see how Moroka is going to play his cards as the BNOC will go to the polls soon. Khunwane and Thipe are long time friends and they have contested against each other in the past, with the latter emerging victorious. Thipe said Khunwane is his friend but he is not capable of leading boxing.

“In 2017, I beat him 16-6. This time around with 23 clubs and four candidates. I will take 13 then they share the remaining 10 amongst the three of them,” he said. Thipe said his campaign has gone according to plan and the reception has been positive. When asked if he was not worried that affiliates might pull a surprise and not vote for him, Thipe said he has more trust in the affiliates because they know his capabilities. Khunwane said he has been against his friend on two occasions and felt this time around he is ready to bring him down. “I have been on the campaign trail and the response has been positive. The only thing I could do is to talk to clubs. But politics are something else, the outcome might be a surprise,” he said.

Khunwane said he has been in office but in a different position with different responsibilities. “To tell you the truth, I did not want to come back into BoBA executive committee, but I was motivated by the calibre of candidates who want to take over the leadership. I would have betrayed boxing. Should any credible candidate have contested, I would have stepped aside,” Khunwane said. For his part, Lefiri said he is in high spirits ahead of the elections. He felt that he has done enough spadework and it would be up to the affiliates to decide.


“I believe my campaign points are achievable and can take boxing to a higher level. My main task is the continuity of boxing programmes. As the incumbent secretary-general, I know what needs to be done as a priority come Monday after the elections,” Lefiri said.

When asked what he has ‘forgotten’ in office and if he is not worried about voters pulling a surprise and reject him, Lefiri said he aspires for higher office and he is still relevant to BoBA. “Normally, one term is not always enough to achieve all intended objectives, especially due to COVID-19 and the suspension of sport. Surprises, yes. Affiliates know all of us who are campaigning. The same could be asked to those who were rejected in 2014 and 2017. I believe I am not done in boxing especially with grassroots development,” Lefiri said. Efforts to get Moroka's comment were unsuccessful as his phone rang unanswered.

Other candidates Vice president: Othusitse Mogotsakgotla and Hlanganani Nkutusang Digwere Secretary-general: Taolo Tloetsile and Irene Ntelamo Competition coordinator: Tsheko Phetogo and Mathata Thingwane Publicity secretary: Thabiso Boefelo and Moitshepi Nkabiti Additional members: Boitumelo Taolo and Peter Tshenyego

Editor's Comment
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