The Botswana Softball senior women’s team which is representing the country at the 16th edition of the Women’s Softball World Championships in Chiba, Japan, is allegedly living rough in the country.
With just five days to go before the team takes to the field for their first outing at the games, information filtering through is that the team is in distress.
After landing in the country on the 24th of this month to camp and fine tune preparations as well as acclimatise ahead of the games, morale is said to be low as the team struggles to come to terms with food and accommodation arrangements.
Sunday Standard has learnt that two days into their Japanese sojourn, players had been restricted to just eating rice, which many have found unpalatable.
“Some of the players have even resorted to not eating the food and to rather go hungry. One player nearly fainted due to hunger,” a source revealed.
According sources, the team is also restricted to just two meals a day, a meagre breakfast and a lunch or supper. “The team is not offered lunch. If they do manage to eat at lunch, they then have to do without supper,” it was revealed.
Another cause for concern is the accommodation arrangements, with the team allegedly having to sleep on thin mattresses while in Japan.
It is alleged that when some players confronted the team management on the matter, they were informed that P32 000 had already been spent on food and the monies had been depleted.
Reached for comment, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) Public Relations and Marketing Officer Kelebogile Seitei said they had heard of the team’s alleged rough stay in Japan and the matter was being handled by the team management.
“What we can confirm is that the team is safe in Japan. However, some of the players have not adapted well to the Asian food served in the country and have found it hard to eat it,” Seitei said.
She however said contrary to suggestions that the team was restricted to eating rice only, there were other meal options but the players do not seem to fancy them.
“What we have heard is that following some complaints from some team members about the food there, one fruit and vegetable shop came to the rescue and donated some fruit and vegetables to the team,” she said.
Asked about the accommodation, Seitei said while the team does not have enough beds, they have been afforded mattresses to sleep on during the training camp.
“From the pictures that the team manager sent to us, the team has been given good and comfortable mattresses to sleep on. They are the mattresses similar to those we use in our houses,” she opined.
On the issue of allowances, the BSA PRO said players were given their training allowances before they departed for Japan. She said two days before the championship starts, the players will be paid their competition allowances.
The BSA PRO however seemed to be in the dark on the number of meals the team was given daily, why there was no proper accommodation arrangements for the team as well as to how much the each player is entitled to in relation to training and competition allowances.
Pressed for answers, Seitei asked to be given a chance to talk to the team management for clarity. However, attempts to get hold of her thereafter proved futile as her phone rang unanswered.