Botswana Softball Association (BSA) has heightened its drive for development of players who will represent the country at international levels in the future. In the light of this, BSA will send a team of young softball players to the 2016 International Softball Federation (ISF) junior men’s World Softball Championship in Michigan, USA. The U-19 men’s softball team is leaving today (Sunday) to take part in the tournament that starts on July 21, 2016. It has been revealed that the players who made the team were chosen from 2015 Botswana Games. A group of 50 players were selected and put in training in preparation for the coming world meet. Through the hard work of both players and coaches a final squad of 18 players was selected to represent the country at the world championships.
Speaking at the team’s sending off ceremony, the Head of Delegation Renny Molete thanked all the stakeholders involved in the nurturing of the talent that Botswana has. Since the players are U-19s, Molete directed special thanks to the teachers who have worked with the players to this point. “If it was not for the teachers we would not be here today as there would be no players, said Molete. He further thanked Botswana Integrated Sport Associations (BISA) for the support and the change that they have given the players to show case their talent. Molete said he is happy that they are taking a developmental team to face the world as they will be learning from the tournament. Even though the competition will be tough given the opponents Botswana will face, Molete is confident the team is ready to give them a run for their money. However, the team hit by injuries with 7 players injured. According to Molete 6 of the injuries are minor while one is a major injury.
BSA president Tirelo Mukokomani could not hide his excitement at the hard work that the players have continued to show while in camp. Mukokomani urged them to keep on the hard work even when they are at the tournament. He also appreciated the support they got from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to be able to continue their developmental drive. Mukokomani revealed that BNSC has made it possible for them to send the team to the world championships this year. BNSC Sports Development Director – Technical, Bobby Gaseitsewe said as BNSC they have seen it important to fund BSA to take this team for the world championships especially because it is a developmental team. Gaseitsewe said the move would give the players the change to go and learn from the world during the tournament.
He urged the players to work hard as they would become future senior national team leaders. Gaseitsewe said development is important calling for continuity so that the country can have strong future national teams. It is not the first time that BSA sends a team to the world championships as another one was sent in 2008. Some of the players that were in the team are currently doing well in the respective teams and are also representing the country at national level. This is exactly what Gaseitsewe want to see happening in future if Botswana sport has to grow. The team will play its first against host USA on June 24 before taking on Czech Republic on the second game. The third game will see the local lads battling it out with two times champions Argentina. Botswana’s Umpire Abel Mataboge will be officiating at the championships being the only umpire from Africa.