Coaches are basically educators, and great educators, for that matter. This is because they are skilled at identifying both improvement and weaknesses, and then constructing plans to nurture growth. They are therefore, at the end of the day, athletic teachers. Some researchers have highlighted that although we don't think of teachers as academic coaches, the two positions are almost synonymous. Outside of subject material, coaches and teachers share similar traits, goals, and responsibilities. Both command respect, impart education and lessons, communicate effectively, and help students or athletes to accomplish personal and universal goals.
These coaches are applauded for leading individuals and teams towards personal and over-arching goals, and if one is to combine the two, both academic and athletic coaching, their impact could be immense. In the boxing circles in Botswana, we have a coach who does not only serve as an academic coach, but has combined both academic and athletic coaching, and does not only continue to develop the future leaders of this country in the classroom but continues on numerous occasions to also produce stars that raise the flag of the country high at international stages.
Further, he contributes to the development of sport, as an administrator, both locally and internationally. This coach is none other than Lechedzani ‘'Master’' Luza. Lechedzani Master Luza, is a former 51kg boxing champion and now an International Boxing Association (IBA) 3-Star boxing coach. Master Luza as affectionately known in boxing circles, is a former multiple national, regional, and African champion. He is the first-ever Motswana to win a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in boxing in 2002.
He has also competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics after qualifying with a continental gold. In 2003, Master Luza was crowned boxer of the year by the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) and won the Sportsman of the year award at the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Sports Awards. In 2006, he was bestowed with a Presidential Certificate of Honour (PCH) by the Former President of Botswana, His Excellency Dr. Festus Gontebanye Mogae.
Upon retirement in 2006, Master Luza became a coach and attained all national coaching levels (I-IV) with distinction. Since then, he has been coaching the University of Botswana Boxing Club to date and has won the national championship numerous times and was named coach of the year, with the latest being in 2021.
At the club level, Master Luza has helped the country to produce Olympians and African champions. In 2014, he won 2 gold medals and 2 bronze medals with the junior team, at the African Youth Games, a first for Botswana. In 2015 and 2017, he qualified two and one boxers for the Elite Men’s World Championships respectively and in 2019 he won 2 gold medals and a silver at the African Games, another first for Botswana.
In 2020, Master Luza qualified the first ever woman boxer, to compete at the Olympics for Botswana together with a male boxer who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Master Luza also doubles as a sports administrator. He served as Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) National Organiser from 2010 to 2017. In 2012, he was voted as Botswana Athletes Commission chairperson and served as the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) board athletes’ representative until 2017.
During his tenure, he led Team Botswana as Chef de Mission to the Bahamas Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017. From 2017 to date, Master Luza serves as Athletes’ Representative for the Commonwealth Games Federation, representing the region of Africa . This is a position that he indicates it is held in high regard by the Commonwealth Games Federation since it helps the organisation to deliver very athlete-centered games. Master Luza is also the founder of a privately owned commercial gym in Broadhurst, Gaborone, known as Master Fitness Centre.
The gym welcomes children of all ages to do Olympic-style boxing and adults who wish to lose weight and potentially reduce their chances of suffering from Non-Communicable Diseases. The centre also offers strength and conditioning sessions to athletes in various sports including the first Motswana woman boxer to win a medal at the Commonwealth games; 48kg, Lethabo Modukanele.
A Senior Teacher 1 –Sports, offering Biology at Ledumang Senior Secondary School in Gaborone, Master Luza holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (Biology) from the University of Botswana, and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Sports Science at Rushford University in Switzerland. He is a family man blessed with 3 children (1 girl and 2 boys).