NNOC withdraws coach from boxing delegation to Italy

WINDHOEK: The Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) on Tuesday withdrew coach and team manager Titus Muunda Joseph from the boxing squad travelling to Italy for the 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.

Joseph was selected as team manager for the six amateur boxers who were given a chance to compete in the 2024 World Qualification Tournament for the upcoming Paris Olympics. The tournament is scheduled to take place from 29 February to 12 March 2024 in Busto Arsizio, Italy.

At the African boxing championships held in Dakar, Senegal last year, Namibian boxers were unable to secure slots for their country.

In a letter released on Monday, the NNOC informed the Namibia Boxing Federation (NBF) that Joseph had been removed from the travelling squad due to comments he made in a local newspaper.

The statement from the letter reads, ‘The withdrawal of Mr Joseph is a result of allegations made by him against the Namibia National Olympic Committee in a newspaper article in the Namibian Sun of Wednesday, 21 February 2024

It further added that regardless of all the efforts from the NNOC to assist the boxing athletes, Joseph chose to disclose the opposite in his newspaper interview. Joseph’s accusations range from lack of assistance to unfit athletes and inadequate support, among others, for the previous participation in Senegal.

The letter also stated that they could not recall that the NNOC received a report (neither verbal nor written) from the Namibia Boxing Federation or from Joseph, suggesting any recommendations upon their return from Dakar.

In an interview with Nampa on Wednesday, NBF Secretary General Petrus Kashongo said that after hours of discussions between the NBF and the NNOC, on Tuesday night the Olympic Committee stood by its decision to remove Joseph from the team for tarnishing their name.

‘I was hoping that we would find a conclusion the same way we found the conclusion of two boxers who were on the same weight scale and needed only one to represent the country,’ he said.

The NBF secretary general ad
ded that having one coach in a team of six boxers is challenging, but they are at the mercy of the NNOC who are funding the team’s trip to Italy.

Kashongo also said he is worried that Namibian boxers will face the same difficulties they had while representing the country at the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

‘The coach had to divide himself between training, warming up during the match, and sitting ringside during competition. This made it challenging for other boxers to warm up and get to the ring for their fights. Coaches need to raise these issues in their reports upon their return so that those funding this trip can understand how many people are needed to form part of the team,’ he said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency