The national softball coach Pako Maforaga has attributed the recent sterling performance of Botswana softball men’s team at the just ended Softball World Championships in Canada to players’ confidence and hunger for win. Botswana finished in the Top 8 of the Softball World Championships – a big improvement from position 19. Botswana beat highly placed teams like Britain in their opening game of the championships. Maforaga said his players went to the championship with the hunger to win. He said it was a long time since Botswana played at the championship and the players wanted to show the talent they have. This is despite Team Botswana going to the championships as underdogs. The coach is happy that they have attained the mandate that they had set for this championship. Prior to their departure, Maforaga told this publication that they were going there to improve their ranking. At the start of the championship Botswana was ranked 19th and now the coach is happy that the team finished in position 8. “We went to this championship with a realistic objective of finishing in Top 8 and we attained that,” said Maforaga.
According to the coach, though the team had a weak offensive hand the balanced composition helped them to do well. The team was made up of both the young and experienced players. He said the balance worked in favour of the team as both players jelled well together. “A good number of players had gone through all the national team ranks and brought their experience while the young ones wanted to play well to prove their worth. This worked well for the team as experienced players helped others to stay strong at all times,” he said. The coach said they have learnt a lot from the championships. He said they will be going back to work on the offensive side of the team since there is room for improvement. He said this because Botswana was ranked number one on pitching following the good performance of the pitchers. To reach the quarterfinals Botswana had very tough opponents in Pool B. However, Botswana won three games to help them qualify. Against all odds Botswana pulled up a shocker when they defeated Britain 0-1 in the opening game. In the second game Japan beat Botswana 8-0 before Denmark narrowly escaped with a 1-0 win. Botswana came back strong against Turkey winning 21-0 and continued to defeat Czech Republic 1-0. The team then lost two games in a row to Venezuela and New Zealand, the ultimate winners. In the quarterfinals Argentina beat Botswana 5-0. Team Botswana received a hearty welcome back home on Thursday afternoon after flying high the nation’s flag at the world championships.