… Geared for Zone IV Championships
Although the reputation of boxing as one of the best performing sporting codes has dwindled in the past years ,the senior national team is fired up and ready to deliver good results at the Africa Zone IV Championships taking place in Gaborone next week. The games will run from April 23rd to the 28th. Team Botswana, which comprises of Mmusi Tswiige, Mohammed Otukile, Keamogetse Kenosi and Aratwa Kasemang, is confident of stamping authority in their own territory and leave a lasting legacy in the championship.
The team started preparing for the regional tournament through frequent training camps and international friendly games from January. In February the duo of Otukile and Kasemang competed in an international tournament in Hungary as part of preparations for Zone IV and other boxing events thereafter.
A fortnight ago Botswana received Lesotho in an international friendly in which most national team boxers won their matches against their opponents. Though Lesotho is not a powerhouse the friendly provided the team with a test of character and helped to check the readiness of the squad.
“I must say we are almost there in terms of our readiness as we are just doing the final touches on the different fitness elements. At this point every boxer is in good condition. What we have is just minor knocks that need physiotherapy only. We are enjoying home ground advantage and our aim is to have every pugilist winning a medal in this tournament, just any medal. No pressure to specify the colour of the medal,” said national team coach Lechedzani Luza.
In the last edition held in Mozambique in 2018 Botswana won four medals – two gold, one silver and one bronze medal – to finish fourth in the medal standings. However since the tournament will be held on the home soil, expectations are that Team Botswana will surpass their last year’s performance.
In addition Otukile and Kenosi will be going all out there to defend the titles they won in the 52 and 60kg categories respectively. “I am more than ready to compete. I missed the last edition but as a senior boxer that doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m just glad I’m back to do what I’m best at. The Zone IV Championship is a tough competition but I’m ready to face any country and I’m going all out there to win my country a gold medal,” said Tswiige, who is one of the most experienced boxers in the squad.
Zone IV region is made up of Angola, Comoros, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition to the tournament Botswana Boxing Association will be running a two-star referee and judge’s course throughout the competition after AIBA approved their request. The course will accommodate 15 participants from zone members with Botswana taking the lion’s share of seven slots in the course.