Uncertainty surrounds the composition of Kenya’s boxing team to the All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco in August after two camps organised parallel qualification events.
One camp, led by Boxing Association (BAK) chairman John Kameta, and another one fronted by ‘suspended’ secretary general Isaac Mbote organised Kenya Open selection camps between April 24 and 27 in Mombasa and Nairobi respectively in absolute contravention of laid down procedures, leaving boxers unsure which side will be heading to Morocco.
The situation has been occasioned by the turf wars between Kameta and Mbote, the former claiming to have full backing from International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and Africa Boxing Commission (ABC).
However, Mbote’s camp insist Kameta is in office illegally, as his term ended last year and they are only filling the vacuum until fresh elections are held.
“The other group who claim to enjoy government’s support are failures who have ruined their sporting image and cannot purport to speak as any legitimate body. We are under the IOC charter and we have the mandate to run boxing activities as a duly registered body,” Kameta told People Sport yesterday.
Mbote responded: “Nobody can run an organisation like a personal property. It is unacceptable and even the Sports Act is clear on governance and integrity which the current office has failed to adhere to.”
Kameta’s event is said to have attracted 25 boxers mostly drawn from Kenya Prisons and Kenya Defence Forces while Mbote’s camp has over 100 participants with Kenya Police said to be among them.
The uncertainty is likely to draw the ire of AIBA and Kenya could face a lengthy ban if matters get out of hand, leaving the future of local amateur boxers in limbo.
Mediation attempts by former Sports CS Rashid Echesa yielded nothing and there is fear that Kenya could miss out on the All Africa Games as well as the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan if the situation is not resolved soon.
National Olympics Committee of Kenya is said to have started efforts to bring the warring factions together while Sports Registrar Rose Wasike said the matter can only be dealt with at ministry level.