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Africa Games

Botswana Boxing coach shocked by Accra Games officiating

Botswana’s national boxing team head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi has taken a swipe at some referees and judges during the African Games in Accra for what he describes as their questionable officiating.

A fuming Setlalekgosi told AFBC Communication drastic measurers have to be taken to avoid what he witnessed in Accra.

“I attended both Men and Women’s World Championships, I was also in Dakar for the Olympic qualifiers and several other international tournaments but I have never seen this kind of unfair officiating at any level as a coach,” he said, adding:”Bouts that were stopped because of the so called injuries are more than we’ve had before, we seriously need to develop our referees and judges, for as long as they officiate in Africa and not the world we will continue to suffer. Our officials are far behind.”

He singled out three of boxers, defending African Games flyweight champion Rajab Otukile Mahomed, bantamweight George Molwantwa and defending African Games female featherweight champion Keamogetse Kenosi, as victims of questionable officiating, and that even some boxers boxers from other countries were also affected.

Otukile’a bout against Fabrice Valerie of Mauritius was stopped in the first round due to a cut above his right eye, Molwantwa lost in the quarter-finals to Morocco’s Imad Azoui and Kenosi was outpointed by Algeria’s Chahira Selmouni.

Setlalekgosi is not amused how bouts involving the aforementioned boxers were handled.

“Rajab was in Accra to defend his title and for him to go out without throwing a meangful punch hurts, this is a semi-professional and not high school boxers, they know the game and are well experienced to look after themselves in the ring.

“His cut above the eye was not that serious for the bout to be stopped. You can’t stop a bout because of a cut that is above the eye. If the cut was serious Rajab would not have been able to be back in the gym the following day training for Mandela Cup, you can’t even tell he had a cut he was very much okay.”

On Molwantwa’s defeat, the Botswana coach described it as robbery without violence.”My boxer was clearly ahead on points, he even had the Moroccan counted in the third round, how he lost the judges know better and that’s why there was a lot of booing after the announcement of the winner.”

He also questioned the referee for giving Kenosi a standing count when she was tripped without any punch landing on her.

“It was just shocking to see this kind of disturbing officiating. I have been a coach for 31 years, I do not complain if I was beaten fairly. I don’t agree with the decisions taken against those boys, and the same ref counted for Kenosi when she was tripped and we lost that round.”

Setlalekgosi said the referees and judges some of whom have never been boxers should also put the amount of energy and time a boxer uses during training.

“We spent a lot of money preparing for the Games and then a ref stops a bout in less than 30 seconds of the first round, it’s very painful,” he said.

Credit: AFBC Communication

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