Nelson Mandela Bay, previously known as a knockout boxing region in the Eastern Cape, is working towards reclaiming its glory days with the launch of an Amateur Boxing Program over the weekend.
“Sport is crucial to develop the nation to be disciplined and committed to do well. We need to encourage young people to actively participate in all sporting codes instead of getting involved in drugs and substance abuse or related criminal activities. As government we have to take the lead in this regard,” Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Benson Fihla said.
He told a lively crowd at a launch on Saturday at the Babs Madlakane Hall in Kwanobuhle that the support given to boxing was the beginning of more sport development programs by the municipality. This local government institution previously aided the Nelson Mandela Bay Amateur Boxing Association (NMBABA) with a R90 000 grant for its development programs.
“We need to elevate Nelson Mandela Bay and build on our reputation as a city that produced World Champions and stop the exodus of our talent leaving our shores to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
“However sport development programs can only be sustained if the private sector plays their part. We therefore call on business to invest in the raw talent that we have”.
A visibly excited Nelson Mandela Bay Amateur Boxing Association Chairman Phakamisa Mfama said the partnership with the municipality is a step in the right direction.
“We are excited about this launch and can now see a bright future for our boxers. Boxing is a poor man’s sport and it is encouraging for us to get assistance from the municipality as the youngsters involved are from poor families.
“Within a few years from now we will be counted among the boxing capitals of the world. I call on business to follow in the footsteps of the municipality. A seed was planted and the investment in boxing is a worthwhile investment,” said Mfama.
The launch, officiated by Executive Mayor Benson Fihla, as part of his 100 days in office plan was preceded by a 20 bout amateur boxing tournament by both female and male boxers from different clubs across Nelson Mandela Bay.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Amateur Boxing Association is required to submit audited financial statements at the end of the financial year to the municipality.
Editor’s Notes: With upcoming national elections maybe now is the time to teach the different political parties a bit of fisticuffs and chess. Then they could choose their best man / woman to engage in a bout of Chess Boxing (YES, it is a sport!) to determine who wins the elections. That would certainly save us from standing in a long queue ………….
Can you just imagine – Leon De Villiers vs Oom Ben Fihla?