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MP SLAMS COMMONWEALTH GAMES SQUAD COACH

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MBABANE – “How do we expect to win in Commonwealth Games when a coach with no track record and boxer is selected?”

This was a question posed by Kukhanyeni Member of Parliament Vincent Sihlongonyane in yesterday’s House of Assembly session with the Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Ministry headed by Minister Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga. Before his submissions, Sihlongonyane declared his passion for sports as he was well aware of issues taking place.

He called for the Eswatini Sport and Recreation Council (ESRC) to ensure that the sports associations affiliated to them had sound frameworks with laid down standards of operation and requirements to certain positions. He claimed that currently, it appeared as though there was no framework to the point that anyone was appointed or elected into positions they did not qualify for, as well as training standards as there was no vetting of sports administrators or officials.

“I’ll quote one case. These days we’re preparing for Commonwealth Games and people were selected, but there are cries that some were left out and how so because selection criteria and all that is done by associations. “Our sports office (ministry) is assessing how things are going but with the framework we’d be helped. There’s a sport that am passionately involved in. Here there’s a coach who has no track record, no boxer but he’s a national team coach going to represent the country in Commonwealth Games yet we expect results,” he said.

The MP expressed his utter surprise at such status quo and wondered how the country expected to win in the games yet coaches with proven track records were left behind. He encouraged the ministry to look at this matter and address it. The ministry will bring written responses to the august House next Monday. Meanwhile, the only boxing coach in the Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 Team Eswatini is Chicks Lukhele, while Mfana ‘Tyson’ Dlamini from Matsapha Boxing Club had also been travelling with the national team often times.

The boxers going to the Commonwealth Games 2022 in the United Kingdom (UK) are Thabiso Dlamini and Zweli Dlamini. It is also worthy of mention that Chicks led the boxers who returned with six medals in the Zone IV Regional Championships in Mozambique back in April and is also qualified. Efforts to get Lukhele were futile but after further efforts, it was established he would not be happy to comment as he was focussing on the task at hand, advised the Eswatini Boxing Association (EBA) President, Webster Lukhele who said as EBA executive they were aware of the petty politics in the association and were dealing with it internally.

“I’m currently away but I’m told Vincent said this in Parliament but what I can say is he always wants his people in the national team. Chicks is a highly decorated coach and very qualified he has done so much for the country. Also, as an executive we are able to work with him,” he claimed.
He added that it was hurtful that Chicks was being victimised for some time now but as an association they had been aware and trying to handle it internally. He also said that Chicks also worked with all the coaches in the country.

Respect

Meanwhile, one of the boxing coaches said the MP must let go of this matter. “He must respect EBA and Chicks is one of the highly qualified coaches,” said the coach on condition of anonymity. He said they did not need any disruption at this point as the Commonwealth Games were only starting after next week.

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