Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) says implementation of their strategy and vision is the main reason for dropping Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza as head coach of the national senior boxing team.
Luza has been the head coach for the previous four years during which he guided the team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which in Japan last year after Botswana failed to qualify boxers for Rio Olympics in 2016. This is the coach who guided Botswana to its first-ever African Games gold medals at the 2019 edition of the competition in Morocco, courtesy of Keamogetse Kenosi (women’s featherweight) and Rajab Mohammed (men’s flyweight).
Luza also led the national boxing team to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia where Botswana did not win a medal. Years before Luza had won a silver for Botswana at the 2002 Commonwealth Games (during his time as a boxer). He was in the dugout when Botswana won its only medal, at the 2017 Africa Boxing Championships. But inspite of this impressive track record, Luza has been dropped as head coach of the senior national boxing team. “There is nothing like bad blood between us,” said the Secretary General of BOBA, Taolo Tlouetsile, in an interview. “We dropped Luza and replaced him with Healer Modiradilo because of our strategy and vision.
“Every committee knows what it wants to achieve and the previous committee appointed Luza as they believed he would aid them to achieve their goals. We have appointed Modiradilo because we believe he is the perfect candidate to take us forward. We respect Luza and are grateful for what he did for the code in the previous years.” Tlouetsile added that another reason is that Luza may not always be available after Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) announced last year that teachers would no longer be availed for national team activities due to problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luza is a teacher while Modiradilo is an employee of BNSC. “The two (Luza and Modiradilo) hold the same qualifications as Star 3 coaches, which means they are of equal capabilities,” Tlouetsile said. “People must also understand that Modiradilo is an experienced coach who has coached Luza and BOBA president Gilbert Khunwane before. He is an exceptionally experienced coach who can take us forward.”