The 15th WBSC Men's Softball World Championship, scheduled for Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, from 7-16 July, has announced the 24 umpires including one who will officiate at the competition.
The 24 men will make up the on-field umpiring crews. The competition is made up of 15 countries. Local umpire Abel Mataboge and the South African Ashley Mmakola will be the only African umpires at the competition. Mataboge will soon be jetting out of the country to officiate at the WBSC 2016.
The 36- year old Mataboge who hails from Mochudi recently officiated at the WBSC junior men World championships in 2016, in Midland Michigan in USA. Mataboge, who is also the BSA umpire in chief since 2010, started umpiring in 2002 after a short playing career as a catcher and shortstop. Mataboge played for his home club Mochudi Riders from 1997 to 2007.
The local umpire has officiated at four world championships, but missed the women senior championships in Holland in 2013 due to poor communication and funds. He also officiated at the previous championships at the highest level, making it to the finals of the competitions and the semis respectably.
The softball official dreams of making it to Rio later this year. “My ambition is to officiate at the Olympics and to become ISF assessor and to also help other Batswana to acquire level five certificate in Umpiring”, he said. The local official is the only umpire among the 16 umpires across the globe to come from the African continent.
The Kgatleng born made his international umpiring debut in 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa between USA and China. Mataboge umpired at WBSC missed competitions through to the last stages, Parana, Argentina finals in 2013 and 2015 Whitehorse Canada, and then he officiated the bronze medal stage in 2016, in Michigan, USA. The 2016 games is among the history making for Botswana U19 boys team as national team pitcher Gideon Puaka was rated the fastest at the competition.