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The much anticipated Selibe Phikwe softball extravaganza is expected to reignite the rivalry of the town’s local softball clubs.
Hosted by Phikwe-based Comets, the 16-team tournament is slated for July 15 to 17 with the preliminary rounds expected to start at the end of this month.
While Comets qualifies automatically for the championship finals, the northern and southern zone clubs will sweat it out for a place in the road to the finals. Top three teams from the northern and southern zone will proceed to the finals of the three-day softball extravaganza at the mining town.
As it is the norm, defending champions in both the men’s and ladies category also qualify automatically. BDF IX and Police IX were crowned 2016 champions respectively and will defend their titles.
The southern preliminary elimination is scheduled for June 30 to July 2 while the northern qualifiers are slated for July 1 to 2.
However, it has emerged that due to challenges that faced the mining town recently, the prize money will remain at P75 000 after it was increased from P60 000 the previous season. Having proved to be one of the biggest events on the domestic softball calendar, the annual tournament has partnered with SPEDU after the collapse of BCL mine that has over the years been the backbone of the event.
SPEDU’s Shiellah Moribame told Sunday Standard that they had realised that the tournament had the potential to revive Phikwe as a town in terms of tourism and creating business opportunities for the local community.
“We are aware that BCL assisted a lot in the organising of the tournament before and it is no more at the moment and I believe it will be relevant for us to come on board and assist. We are coming in as partners to close the gap and looking into promoting sports tourism in the area. We are also hoping the business community will benefit and will try by all means to support the local community as service providers,’’ Moribame said.
Botswana Sofball Association (BSA) National Executive Committee (NEC) member Oeme Morupisi said preparations of the event were at an advanced stage and expectations were that the tournament would excite than ever before this year.
“This tournament has proved to be one of the best hosted in the country; there is always a lot of expectation on and off the field as the rivalry of the teams heightens in this competition. It is exciting as the hype is already on with the preliminary rounds expected to start soon,’’ said Morupisi.