SPORTS minister Moses Mawere says the death of Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control board chairperson Nelson Sapi has robbed the nation of a gallant sports administrator. And the Football Association of Zambia says Sapi’s contribution to Zambia’s sports development is greatly recognised and he will be greatly missed.
“On behalf of the government and indeed on my own behalf, it is with sadness that I learnt of the untimely death of the chairman for Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board, Mr Nelson Sapi. He passed on on Monday, 25th February 2019 at 11:05 hours at Linksfield Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa after an illness. He was evacuated to South Africa on Wednesday, 20th February 2019,” Mawere said.
He said Sapi was first appointed to the Board as chairman in 2001.
He said in 2006, he was reappointed for another three years by the Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development which elapsed in 2009.
“The late Mr Sapi demonstrated a lot of commitment and brought a lot of positive changes to the development of boxing in the country. It is because of his passion and commitment to the development of boxing that on 15th September 2009, he was reappointed for another tenure of his office,” he said. “During his time in office, the late Mr Nelson Sapi spearheaded the amendment of the boxing Act. The Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Act was amended to legalise female boxing in Zambia under Act No.33 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia. In 2015, in line with the new Act, Mr Sapi’s tenure of office was renewed for another five years by the Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development, due to his dedicated passion to development of professional boxing not only in Zambia but internationally.”
Mawere said it was with a deep sense of sadness that the ministry and the nation received the news of the passing on Sapi.
“The nation may wish to know that the late Mr Nelson Sapi also served at international and continental level. In 2010 he was appointed to sit on the board of Governors for World Boxing Council; In 2011 he was appointed to be the vice secretary for the Africa Boxing Union, Southern Region; In 2015 he was appointed to be the Secretary General for Africa Boxing Union; In November 2018, he was reappointed as the Secretary General for Africa Boxing Union, the position he held up to the time of his death,” he said.
“In May 2015 he was appointed to supervise the World Boxing Council cruiserweight elimination fight in Durban, South Africa; in November 2015, he was appointed to supervise the World Boxing Council cruiserweight and heavyweight fight in Russia; Mr Nelson Sapi is the first in Zambian history to have held such high responsibilities at international and continental level in the area of boxing. The nation has lost a gallant sports administrator and it will be hard to replace Mr Sapi. He had dedicated his time and resources to the development of boxing in Zambia, Africa and the world at large.”
Mawere said Sapi’s contribution to sport development would be greatly missed.
“On behalf of His Excellency the Republican President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and indeed on behalf of the Zambian people and the sport family, we wish to pass our sincere condolences to the family of the late Mr Nelson Sapi. May God comfort them during this trying time,” said Mawere.
Meanwhile, FAZ communications manager Mwazi Chanda said Sapi’s active football career spanned over three decades, starting as a striker with Rhokana United (now Nkana FC) in 1968 as well as being part of the national team (the KK11) from 1975 to 1977 when he turned to coaching and then sports administration.
“Mr Sapi had an extensive career in sports; that included the promotion of Zambia’s participation in the Special Needs Olympics and more recently he held the position of chairperson of the Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZPBWCB),” said Chanda.
“It is with a deep sense of sadness that we have received the news of the passing of the co-proprietor of Don Gordon Primary School. On behalf of Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga and the FAZ administration we wish to pass sincere condolences to the Sapi family and the sporting community at large.”