The battle for supremacy in the Botswana Softball Shell Golden league enters its elimination stages this weekend as teams are expected to battle it out to book themselves places in the championship stage.
The elimination stages, which are expected to help select the top eight teams to advance to the semi final stages, kick off this Saturday at the National Diamond as well as the University of Botswana stadiums. The Botswana Softball Association (BSA)’s Competitions Director, Kelebogile Ditsele, said the weekend’s group matches will be the first of four scheduled for the next four consecutive weekends across the country. “Unlike in the past years when the top four teams in both the Southern and Northern leagues automatically made it into the top eight, this time around we have come with a new system of selecting teams to play in the top eight. Under the new system, after the first round, teams are grouped into four groups, with the top teams seeded and they go into the elimination stage where they battle to make it into the top eight,” Ditsele said.
She says only the top two teams in each group will then make it into the next round. According to the BSA Competitions Director, the new format was conceived to bring to an end concerns from different teams that the old format was very unfair as there are more teams in the South region as compared to the North.
The other three remaining group elimination matches will be held at Selibe Phikwe on the 28th of this month, Mahalapye on the 04th of February while the last one is billed for Lobatse on the 11th March.
“The main reason why these group games will be played over the next four consecutive weekends is because the BSA is stretched for manpower. As such, we could have not afforded to have our officiating personnel covering all the games in a single weekend,” Ditsele explained.
Coming into the weekend’s Group A matches, a total of thirteen matches are expected to be played over the weekend. Eight teams, five for men and three women’s teams, are expected to take part.
The men’s teams battling it out this weekend will include first round South Region’s league leaders BDF IX who are the group’s top seed while other teams will be UB, Wipers, Bears and Gatalamotho.
The women’s group section on the other hand will comprise of the Northern region’s first round league leaders Scramblers as well as BDF IX ladies and Vikings. Meanwhile, the BSA Competitions Director says the association is pleased with the way the league has been going on. She says up to now, everything has been running well and they are expecting to finish the league on time.