Boxing coaches cry foul

Boxing coaches, who led the charge for medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, says they were disrespected, belittled and attacked in front of their athletes, in the run-up to the games.

17 May 2018 | Sports

The Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) have been accused of mistreating national boxing team coaches in the run-up to Commonwealth Games, held in Australia from 4 to 15 April.

Patrick Kashera, who was the head coach and team manager for the games, has alleged in a report to sport permanent secretary Emma Kantema-Gaomas, dated 30 April, that they were maltreated by NNOC secretary-general Joan Smit and the organisation's president Abner Xoagub.

In his report, Kashera details how he was selected together with Teofilus Hamutumbangela to be part of the team by the Namibia Boxing Federation (NBF).

Both of them are qualified AIBA Star 1 coaches and were accredited six months before the games. However, in the report Kantema-Gaomas was informed they were not given any transport money to travel to Windhoek from the north and also had to foot the bill themselves for their accommodation.

Kashera also claimed Smit disrespected, belittled and attacked them verbally in front of their athletes.

“She claimed that we do not know anything about boxing and only wanted to go on holiday. She also claimed that we are not qualified to participate in such a high-level competition,” lamented Kashera.

He further said Smit undermined the mandate of the boxing federation and only wanted her favoured individuals to accompany the team.

“We booked our own accommodation and confronted them both (Smith and Xoagub).

“They were adamant that we are not qualified and further called the International Boxing Federation (IBF). Only then did they refund us the N$3 000 for accommodation. But they have not refunded my transport fees.

“In difficult situations we then arranged a crash preparation course for the boxers, using our own fees for five days before travelling to Australia, because the NNOC said they did not have funds for that, but took a cleaner to the games. They could have used that money to pay for a training camp.

“The NNOC should become transparent and not send their families to major games, at the expense of sport codes and the government,” Kasera said.

The coach added the NNOC has no respect for federations and chooses to work directly with athletes and coaches, without consulting the federations.

“They don't follow the right channels at all and aid in causing division amongst coaches and disadvantaging certain coaches in regions, because they do not disseminate information to everyone.”

In the report Kashera also claimed they were denied the opportunity to attend a cut man course in Australia, even though it was communicated to NNOC early.

“There are no qualified cut men in Namibia and this was a great opportunity for us to be trained.”

A frustrated Kasera recommended that boxing be managed by the NBF and not the NNOC and that funds meant for boxing should be paid to the federation.

Hamutumbangela said the manner in which NNOC did things was embarrassing. “I was selected because of the work I do for the boxers, but the NNOC tried by all means to leave us out of the trip. It's not right because our boxers did well, with Jonas Junias returning with a gold medal. We were not even rewarded for that,” he said.

Smit was in Botswana when called for comment and said that she was not aware of anything. She was then forwarded the report and promised to respond, but did not do so at the time of going to print.

Xoagub said they wanted to send the best to the games and did not want to send people just to get experience.

“These guys have a system of giving each other chances to travel, but we did not want that. We took them in the end. Even the boxers were unhappy, themselves.

“We wanted one of the trainers to go with the team, as the boxers are used to them, but in the end this did not happen.”

LIMBA MUPETAMI

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