The Botswana softball team that will be representing the country at the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship in Canada from 7-16 July is eyeing a top 8 finish at the tournament. The team leaves Botswana for Canada on 3rd July 2017. Coach Pako Maforaga said on Friday that their main aim at the tournament will be to improve their standing in the world rankings. Botswana is currently ranked number 19 in the World and second in Africa. Maforaga said they will fight hard at the championships to make sure that the team improves its world ranking. He is confident that they will attain this since they have been working hard in preparations for the championship. He said their preparations have gone very well and are now focusing on the final touches. The team travelled on Friday to Attridgeville, South Africa for a return friendly match. A fortnight ago Botswana played South Africa at home and won two of the three matches they played. Morale is also said to be high in the camp as players are looking forward to taking on the challenge that is coming. However, it is not going to be a walk in the park for Botswana as a very tough competition is expected. Ranked 19th in the world and 2nd in Africa, Botswana will face world softball heavyweights ranked higher. Botswana is in Pool B with number one ranked New Zealand and second placed Japan. Also in the group is Denmark at position 13, Great Britain 10, Czech Republic 8, Venezuela 7 and unranked Turkey. Botswana will kick-start the competition against Great Britain on July 7.
Despite this Maforaga is hopeful that his players will live up to the task as he is happy with the team composition. “I believe that we have done all they we needed to do to prepare for this championship. Right now we are just putting the final touches before we leave. I am confident that the players are ready for the challenge,” he said. The last time Botswana was at the men’s softball world championships was in 2009. The team managed only one win. Maforaga is however hopeful that this will change since local softball has been growing in the past years. The team manager Gloria Gaosikelwe said everything is set for the team and they are only left with departing for the games.
Pitchers: Kagiso Mogale (BDF IX), Romeo Tshelametse (Rail Giants), Karabo Motsholathebe (Bears), Witness Gaarogwe (BDF IX),
Catchers: Unaswi Gudu (Bears), Thabiso Radithobane (Wells International).
In-field: Kabo Matlho (BDF IX), Jury Manaka (BDF IX), Brian Dekoker (Gatalamotho), Godson Motsumi (Police IX), Obusitswe Lekgothu (BDF IX), Moses Kgosimore (Vikings).
Out-field: Gomolemo Tshelametse (Vikings), Eric Simwanza (Wells International) and Mothusi Shalobane (BDF IX).
Head of delegation: Tirelo Mukokomani; Team manager: Gloria Gaosikelwe,
Pako Maforaga (head coach); coaches: Misael Thomspson and Aiko Nakamura