The country’s second loved sport after football, boxing, might not to be amongst the sport codes to represent Namibia at this year’s Commonwealth Games.
Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) chief administrator, Shivute Katamba revealed this to The Villager Sports, ahead of the Games slated for 23rd July to 3rd August in Glasgow, Scotland.
The sporting disciplines that have so far submitted their participants, according to the NSC are athletics, Paralympics, bowling and cycling.
“The Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) should provide you with that kind of information,” said Katamba.
The NNOC, however, had a different explanation on why participating boxers’ names had not been submitted to the NSC office.
“We (NNOC) submitted a long list of sport codes for Glasgow on 14th March this year, with boxing as part of it. We can only submit a full team to the NSC once all the codes have finalised their individual squad lists. I don’t know how the names of other sporting disciplines ended up at the NSC. The qualifiers are still on but Netball and Rugby Sevens will not participate, because the country is not highly ranked in the two sport codes,” NNOC secretary-general, Joan Smit, said this week.
Namibian Boxing Federation (NBF) secretary-general, Joe Kaperu, accused some sections of the NNOC of trying to sabotage local boxing, despite the sport being the most successful, with Japhet Utoni as the only boxer to date to ever win both gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games for the country.
Utoni won a golden medal in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia and a silver in 2010 in New Delhi, India.
Quizzed about why his office has since failed to submit names of the participating boxers for the Games, Kaperu blamed the NNOC.
“We met all the requirements. Boxing has always had a technical problem with some people within the NNOC, even though we are affiliated to it. We submitted the correct documents but NNOC said it had a problem with some boxers’ passports, which had expired. This is not a major problem, as it can be rectified. NNOC therefore returned all the documents we had submitted to it. I told them verbally to choose from the other 25 boxers whose passports had not expired, as the Games only need a certain number. There are many boxers who are potential medal winners but are being robbed of the chance to shine,” said Kaperu, also lashing out at NNOC’s vice-president, Abner Xoagub, for not handling the matter accordingly with the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo.
An adamant Kaperu, however, said his office will stick to its initial list of boxers for the Games, even though time is running out.
“We will choose from the listed boxers once their document issues are solved. I don’t know why Abner had to send a letter to the minister’s office instead of the NSC’s. There are no more qualifiers. We chose from the boxers who took part at the National Championships in Rundu last year and at the coast, a few weeks ago”.
As part of the Games’ preparations, a team will be heading to South Africa for a Zone 6 Competition in Pretoria, starting from 14th to 19th of April, “which is not part of the qualifiers but a warm-up for the boxers”.