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FEATURE: Who succeeds Peter Zwennes as GBA president?

BY: Bernard Neequaye

I may not be privy to the reasons that led to Peter Zwennes reluctancy to continuing as the leader of professional boxing in the country but what I know for a fact is that his reign has been a successful one.

It has been a successful leadership in my opinion because Ghana achieved two world titles in his eight-year reign and it is a plus to me considering the neglect boxing suffers from successive government.

Last Wednesday, I read on BoxingAfrica.com that Zwennes was not interested in going for a third term as president of the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA). As perplexed as I was, one thing that struck me immediately was who his successor was going to be.

I have been thinking about potential candidates who could fit into the role should the astute lawyer decide to bow out and I am yet to point a finger at anyone in the boxing industry.

This is not to say there are no qualified personalities to take over from Zwennes but what they can offer to the sport is what should be the target.

In the BoxingAfrica.com  publication, three candidates namely, Henry Manly-Spain, Rabon Dodoo and Abraham Kotey Neequaye were mentioned to be interested in taking over from Zwennes.

The names did not surprise me because they are familiar personalities who continue to play significant roles in the boxing industry in Ghana.

What I will expect from their candidature should they indeed file their nominations will be to see a comprehensive manifesto which spells out their plans and policies should they be given the nod.

I am saying this because, what Ghana boxing needs now is a leadership that will go beyond what Zwennes achieved. The association should not backtrack and that is why all stakeholders must ensure the best candidate is elected to take over from the current leadership.



Problems

Currently, the GBA continues to bleed from no financial assistance from government and that keeps affecting the plans of the association.

Should a new leader be appointed, what is he bringing on board to solve this problem? I am not saying he should convince government to start financing activities of the GBA but what other alternatives can the new leader explore to bring an end to this canker.

In other countries such as the US, promotional outfits usually derive their finances from broadcast rights, tickets and pay per views. What prevents boxing in Ghana from taking those steps?

I know how difficult it is to secure sponsorship for boxing events in Ghana but there should be a solution to that. Firstly, our boxers must brand themselves well to be able to attract sponsorships from corporate entities.

When boxing shows are attractive, it attracts sponsorship itself. A clear example was the Brimah Kamoko alias Bukom Banku and Michael ‘Powers’ Ayitey in 2013 when broadcast giants MultiChoice Ghana LTD (DSTV) decided to come on board due to the euphoria surrounding the bout.

Another one was the unforgettable clash between Bukom Banku and Bastie Samir in 2017. I was at both events and was impressed with the turnouts.

A new leader who can ensure such bouts are what the GBA needs to make boxing the best sport in the country.

I can’t also talk about what is needed to be solved by Zwennes’ successor without mentioning matchmaking. It is one problem killing interests in sponsorships because most of the pairings on fight nights are not competitive.

If promoters want to gain sponsorships for their bouts, then a new GBA president must ensure matchmaking under his tenure is always competitive before sanctioning fights.


Expectations

With all said and done, I will be keenly monitoring the unfolding events in the coming months as to who decides to lead the GBA.

In all honesty, I would have preferred to see Zwennes lead the association for another term and I believe by then a formidable candidate can take over from him.

But should he decide to follow his heart and bow out, his name will remain in the annals of boxing history in the country as one of the best presidents to have led the GBA.

I will also expect a clash of policies in this year’s congress to inform delegates on the candidate to fall on as their next president.

Until a date for the next congress and nominations are confirmed, my humble plea would be for interested aspirants to engage in meaningful clashes of ideas.

This I believe would attract people to the GBA unlike the reigning of insults between aspirants which will deter people from getting involved with the sport.