Malawi Boxing Association (Maba) says the three rings government procured for them through Malawi National Council of Sports are inappopriate.
Sports Council bought the rings commissioned by Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama in August at K45 million.
Maba president Pyson Likagwa said in an interview that they realised during the unveiling ceremony that the new rings were traditional eight by eight metres instead of internationally recommended six by six metres.
He said: “While we appreciate government’s decision to provide us with new rings as requested, they are not suitable as they cannot be used to host international bouts.”
“We raised our concerns regarding the same with Sports Council who have assured us that they will provide proper rings before the country hosts Region 5 Games in December next year.”
Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) spokesperson Frank Chibisa said he too was surprised after establishing that the rings were inappropriate.
He faulted Sports Council for not consulting the beneficiaries before purchasing the rings.
“Those rings cannot be used for international bouts. They are a ‘sitting room’ not those that are recommended internationally. It is embarrassing that we will continue to cry for standard rings when provision for its purchase was made available by government,” he said.
Meanwhile, regional boxing committees, who are the beneficiaries of the equipment, have threatened to reject the rings.
Maba Northern Region Chapter chairperson Wezi Mayiza said they cannot accept a facility whose specifications are not the recommended ones.
Southern Region chairperson Arthur Makwera said the mistake which Sports Council made was to overlook the beneficiaries in the procurement process.
“No wonder, we got unsuitable rings. It is important that this issue should be sorted out before handing them over to the regional chapters,” he said.
Central Region chairperson James Mkwanda said he was equally surprised to see that the rings purchased were inappropriate and they are looking forward to being provided with proper ones.
“Actually, I enquired about the rings at the commissioning ceremony and I was told that they would only be used for training and that proper rings would be delivered later,” he said.
But professional boxer Mussa Ajibu, who is also MPBCB chairperson for Central Region, said Maba officials should be the last to complain because they should have asked to be involved in the procurement process.
He said: “They allowed Sports Council to purchase the rings when they are not fully conversant with the specifications. So, what did they expect?”
However, Sports Council acting public relations officer Faith Mlauzi said they followed all the necessary procurement procedures to acquire the rings of sizes as stipulated by Maba officials.
“It is sad that Maba officials are giving a different story now. Otherwise, we procured the rings based on their recommendations,” she said.
Ministry of Youth and Sports spokesperson Ali Kalichero said they have instituted investigations to establish what happened for the council to buy inappropriate rings.
“We will check with the council to establish what exactly happened. Otherwise, we are equally surprised,” he said.