The national men’s softball team is gearing up for International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Men’s World Championships penciled for July in Michigan, United States of America.
The tournament which is held every two years will witness the prowess of Botswana’s junior team which comprises of boys aged between 16 and 17, mainly from North East and North West districts.
The troop was expected to start training this week but due to administrative setbacks, the team will now convene for camp the first week of February in Gaborone. Botswana Softball Association Marketing and public relations officer (PRO) Kelebogile Seitei said they intend to forge a strong team that will benefit Botswana beyond the world Junior Championships. “This is a tremendous opportunity for these young kids. Our team is dominated by kids under the age of 17 and we are determined to keep the boys together so that they know each other well from in and off the field and we intend to send a tough team that will compete against the best in the world not only to participate” Seitei added.
Seitei said the association has been facing challenges especially recruiting players that have just completed their BGSCE (form 5), as most of them are based in the northern and western part of the country. “We have been in contact with their former school teachers to help us get in touch with their parents so that we call them to camp as soon as possible, and we are glad that we have been able to communicate with most of these parents,” said Seitei.
The Botswana softball association mouthpiece also said the team could have reported for camp last week but they were delayed by the Ministry of sports, youth and culture, which is now responsible for financing all national teams of different sport codes in the country.
Besides the monthly training camps, the association is planning to organise friendly tournaments with South Africa in order to gauge the boys’ performance ahead of the main tournament.
Of the 46 youngsters reporting for camp, only 17 are expected to make the final cut for the final preparations before they head to USA.
“We want continuity of players in our national teams, in most cases after representing the national teams at a certain level; they vanish from the softball scenes. For instance South Africa has six players in their current squad that represented their country in the same event 2 years ago, and some are playing in the senior national team, the transition is ideal,” Seitei concluded.
Botswana softball association is expected to appoint suitable candidates for the positions of head coach and team manager before the team report for their first training camp in February.