Gilbert Munetsi Sports Correspondent
NINE countries recently converged in South Africa to establish committees tasked with coming up with blueprints for submission to the African Union Region 5 Sports Council for possible ratification.
Zimbabwe were represented at the boxing convention at the Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, by the national boxing control board chairman, Richard Hondo, and general secretary, Patience Masarirambi.
Both were included into the two committees with Hondo being elected vice chairperson of the main committee, whose chair – by virtue of being the host – will be the Boxing South Africa chief.
Masarirambi will be in the committee that has been tasked to look into matters pertaining to women boxing as a special interest group.
Only Mozambique, where professional boxing has been semi-active, was absent from the convergence, a first of its kind for SADC.
Among the resolutions were the urgent need to form a boxing bloc that will tally with the region’s economic bloc which has a 15-country membership so that the two blocs are at par.
“Delegates appreciated that SADC is the biggest and most active sports region on the continent and the developments that come from ideas mooted at the indaba and other meetings to follow will feed into it to make it more gigantic.
“We are now in the thick of it to see if we can stimulate or build on our similarities and where they are not present, narrow the differences among boxing nations.
‘’The medium-to-long-term objective is to create more understanding among (SADC) states so that at the end of it all, they will be using the same set of regulations for their boxers.
“They (boxers) will feel at home even when they are fighting away from home because the rules will be interpreted the same way,” Hondo said.
Once the comprehensive blueprint has been completed, it will then be submitted to the Ministers of Sport in the region.
A second committee to look into the interests of women boxing, of which Zimbabwe National Boxing Control Board general-secretary Masarirambi is a member together with SA and Namibia, is expected to convene in Windhoek this week to come up with own recommendations with regards to women boxing.
There was also a consensus among member boxing states that they would collectively decide on the international sanctioning bodies to affiliate to, the reason being their voice would have a better chance of being heard.
Among the special dignitaries at the two-day convention were Zimbabwe’s Sports Minister Kazembe Kazembe, the SA Minister of Sport, Director-General of the Sports Commission of Botswana and chairpersons of all the nine represented countries.