The Botswana national women’s softball team recently qualified for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) senior women’s championships scheduled for Chiba, Japan in August. Botswana qualified during the WBSC Africa qualifiers recently held in South Africa. The senior national women’s team are not the only ones who have made the country proud as the senior men’s team were recently ranked 12th in the world following the WBSC world championships held in Canada last year.
In an interview this week, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) Vice President BSA Katlholo Mosimanegape said the senior ladies team success was realized because of the BSA’s early development programs. Mosimanegape added that such programs were achieved in collaboration with the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA). “Through BISA we capture well performing junior athletes and help them get a place at our softball schools of excellence located in Masunga and Goodhope. In these centres we have trained grassroots coaches who work with them every now and then,” Mosimanegape said.
In addition, the BSA VP SAID the Debswana sponsored “Re ba bona Ha” program has also played part in helping develop the sport. Through the program Mosimanegape said they have been focusing bringing more girls into playing and once they are in the systems the BSA is able to maintain them. “We arrange camps every now and then for our players, we do not wait for a big event to take place before we start putting in the work,” he said.
For her part, the BSA Public Relations officer Kelebogile Seitei pointed out that the ladies team is stronger than ever because the association has been working tirelessly in ensuring that athletes at clubs level get the necessary exposure through the league as well the morale support needed to produce results.
Moreover, the elated BSA mouthpiece said that the association success is driven by cooperation between players, administrators and the technical teams. “We work closely with one another because we have a similar interest and that is to grow softball in the country,” she said.
Seitei further explained that BOFINET BSA league is another contributing factor to success in both the men and women side at international stages. “Through their clubs our athletes cgain so much experience because the league is as competitive as international tournaments because every team wants to win the P100 000 cash prize money hence high level matches.”
Speaking on the senior men team’s impressive rise in the world rankings, Seitei said that the ranking is the highest finish the country has ever recorded. She added that the ranking shows that the association is in the right track in fulfilling its mandate of being Africa’s best.
“The rankings track a country’s entire national team performance in all WBSC-sanctioned international competitions over a period of four years including the under 19, this shows we are building not only the seniors but upcoming teams too,” she explained. Seitei added that going forward the local league should be more interesting since the outside world will be watching too because of their double success.
“Chances of underperforming are very minimal in the future since teams will be engaged throughout because our teams will be more engaged and with that we anticipate a much higher ranking,” Seitei said.