Manager outlines importance of social care for boxers

Tengimfene to host benevolent Irish trainer Johnson

2018 BSA Manager of the year Mlandeli Tengimfene.
2018 BSA Manager of the year Mlandeli Tengimfene.
Image: Michael Sheehan

Lamenting the negative effects of drugs, which include crime, in segments of society, boxing manager Mlandeli Tengimfene feels not doing anything practical about the scourge is as good as keeping quiet.

His biggest concern is with boxers, mainly because the majority of them don't have academic qualifications. Hunger and poverty are their daily experience and scarcity of fights contributes to their misery of being paid a  pittance, leading to them drowning their sorrow in alcohol – or worse, drug abuse.

Tengimfene has dealt with talented fighters who got caught up in drugs. Their prowess is polished at his All Winners Boxing Club which is home to former WBO bantamweight world champion Zolani Tete in East London.

The man whose gallant work in knocking their lives back into shape and turning Tete into a global star earned him 2018 BSA manager of the year award and has invited others who have achieved a lot in shaping the lives of such people.

He said that person is trainer Paul Johnson of Monkstown Boxing Club in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Last year Johnston received the royal nod for the years spent working as a coach and mentor to hundreds of deprived youngsters back home. 

In 2012 he founded the cross-community BoxClever programme – a voluntary scheme to deliver homework and breakfast clubs, coaching sessions and sport-related work placements for kids.

He is said to have helped change the lives of young people who were leaving school with little or no qualifications. Some of them came from single-parent families and of those today he is a clinical psychologist.

Tengimfene said Johnson and 11 other members of his team will arrive in East London on June 26.

"They will spend 13 days here," he said.

Tengimfene paid tribute to the provincial government including Bafundi Makubalo, a senior manager from the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture, for making it possible for him to invite Johnson and his team.

"These people were here in 2019 and we adopted three orphanages and one of them is Masizakhe Children Home in Mdantsane," said Tengimfene.

"Last year they sent money for Christmas directly to the three orphanages.

"They also contributed financially towards the funeral of Mhikiza Myekeni in August. They met him when we were in Belfast with Zolani; remember Mhikiza trained Zolani."

He said they are expanding their scope by adding youth and drugs in sport.

"The long-term plan is to establish a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for our boxers primarily and other sporting codes," said Tengimfene.

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