World amateur boxing body, Amateur International Boxing Association (Aiba), has barred Malawi from taking part in boxing activities for failing to pay yearly affiliation fees of $250 (about K184 500) for two consecutive years.
Malawi Amateur Boxing Association (Maba) president Justice Katika said the sanction has, among others, affected amateur boxers’ participation in international competitions, training of technical personnel and provision of equipment.
He also feared for the worst to come for the boxing fraternity should Malawi fail to pay the mandatory annual affiliation fees.
“We are losing a lot for failing to pay affiliation fees. I have a lot of invitations for competitions, but we cannot even attempt to enter because it’s a requirement to pay affiliation fee for us to be eligible,” Katika said.
He added: “Just recently, there were amateur boxing tournaments in Libya and Morocco, but we were barred. We also cannot take part in Commonwealth as well as International Olympic Games.”
The Maba president said Malawi also missed the world boxing congress held in Moscow, Russia from November 2-3 as the association was not invited to the global meeting.
He blamed Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) for failing to pay them annual subvention from government for the past two years with which the association could have paid the affiliation fees.
“We are concerned because we have been talking to Sports Council to give us our annual subvention which is K1.8 million [K800 000 for our subvention and K1 million for Presidential Initiative on Sports],” the Maba president said.
He said the association also reached out to the corporate world for assistance.
“We have written several companies to help us, but we are yet to get a favourable response.”
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana confirmed Maba’s woes, but said: “Our policy does not allow us to pay affiliation fees for associations. If associations cannot pay an affiliation fee to the world body, then what can be expected of them?
“They also have a complicated case because if they are not recognised by their international body then what can we do?”
Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board spokesperson Frank Chibisa described the situation as counterproductive to the development of the sport.
“If they are not affiliated to the world body then it means amateur boxing in Malawi is illegal. Boxers cannot be invited to competitions,” he said.
Chibisa said the situation could also affect professional boxing since Maba provides a feeder to the professional body.
“Our nursery is amateur and if we don’t have good boxers at nursery level then we cannot expect to have good professional boxers. Professional boxers; Chimwemwe Chiotha, Osgood Kayuni and Wilson Masamba had good foundation as amateurs,” he said.
Chibisa also said Maba has been silent on boxing activities recently.
South Africa based-Malawian coach Andson Kazembe also bemoaned the no-payment of the fees.
“Malawi not paying affiliation fees is not a good development as they lose out in game participation— thus no exposure and learning new boxing developments—as rules, regulations change all the time,” he said.
“Now, they will not get boxing equipment allocation, they have missed the Congress in Russia. Not good for boxing Malawi. They need to follow up on such important matters.”