THE Zambia Amateur Boxing Federation (ZABF) has embarked on an ambitious programme to recruit former boxers to help revamp the sport at amateur level.
ZABF president Thomas Chileshe said in an interview yesterday that about 40 retired boxers would be recruited to help out with the technical aspect of the sport, especially in coaching where boxing presently lacks sufficient numbers for skilled coaches to tutor amateur boxers.
Chileshe said the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) had directed his executive to mobilise the 40 coaches after which an international coaching expert would be sent to conduct training.
He said AIBA was changing its strategy of amateur boxing management and would be looking at ways of producing more amateur boxers, who are going to stay in the amateur ranks longer and possibly start to earn a living from the sport.
Chileshe said in order to have a smooth and successful recruitment process of retired boxers, who are to be turned into coaches, the ZABF had appointed Dan Chiteule to oversee the process of recruiting and screening.
He hailed Chiteule as a committed official, who was already chairperson for coaching under the current ZABF executive, and expressed optimism that the soon-to-be-recruited former boxers would help turn fortunes around for Zambian boxing.
Chileshe said for once, he was seeing an array of coaches being able to produce Zambian boxers, who will one day be top class boxers.
With so many retired boxers in the country, with so much knowledge of the sport and just roaming the streets, Chileshe said their vast knowledge would now be put to good use and transferred to the younger generation.
He said making good use of retired sportsmen was the key to success of any country in several sporting disciplines and it was good that for once, Zambia was running a deliberate policy project to make us of retired boxers.
With Zambia's boxing having seen better days, the skill in the retired boxers could work a great deal in reigniting the once second largest sport in Zambia, only beaten by football, back to life.
This project may see the return to boxing of great names like Mike 'Iron' Chilambe, Paul Kaoma, Thomson 'Townboy' Miti, Evans 'Paradox' Chisenga and Morgan Mphande among others.