By Gilbert Munetsi
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry is expected to appoint a new Boxing and Wrestling Control Board before the end of the year, an official at the commission revealed last week.
Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZNBWCB) general secretary, Lawrence Zimbudzana, told Nhau that the process to appoint new members had long been initiated and, hopefully, the discipline would have a board in place “before the fall of the year”.
“You may appreciate that the prerogative lies with the appointing authority who is the Minister herself. We don’t have control over the office that does the vetting, but we are reliably informed the process is at an advanced stage such that by the end of year, office bearers may have been named,” he said.
A combat sport that is governed by an Act of Parliament, boxing is superintended by an eight-member commission whose primary mandate is to protect the interests of boxers and other stakeholders who include managers, referees, judges and cornermen.
But since the Richard Hondo-led commission left office after their reign lapsed two years ago, there have been repeated calls from the fraternity for the appointment of a replacement team to oversee the policy aspect of boxing matters.
In a related issue, Zimbudzana said government had pledged to support professional boxing with an injection of seed money that would go towards the establishment of a benevolent fund.
Establishment of the fund has been on the cards for many years and its purpose is to serve boxers in circumstances when they are incapacitated due to illness, injury or death.
Recently, its non-existence and the unavailability of a board were both under the spotlight when a boxer lost his life from injuries sustained in the ring.
“The benevolent fund is a statutory requirement and to this effect, we lobbied government for seed money. We are privileged in that beginning 2022, Government has pledged to support us by way of availing capital to kickstart the project.
“However, we will need to sustain the availed funds and we will begin multi-stakeholder engagement to see what can be done to expand it.
“We will soon be working on modalities in terms of the Constitution (of the fund) because it is not the prerogative of the board alone to administer it. Treasury has asked that we craft a document with all the fundamentals and a sustainability model, so we are seized with that,” said the general secretary. Nhau/Indaba