Local coaches have criticized the softball governing body, the Botswana Softball Association, for failing to market the sport and attract lucrative sponsorships. In the past, softball experienced phenomenal growth and became the second most popular sport after football. But in recent years, the sport’s popularity declined and sponsors became very scarce. The softball women’s league, for example, recently came to an end without any sponsor.
Local coaches and affiliates point the finger at the BSA executive, accusing them of doing nothing to improve softball’s fortunes.
“The BSA leadership is doing absolutely nothing to develop softball. They are failing their affiliates,” said Wells’ head coach, Otsetswe Bobby Modiega. He blamed BSA for focusing on international tournaments and failing to develop national teams.
Modiega said that the national softball team is usually assisted to participate in international events, while local teams are not assisted in any way.
“This gives the world a wrong impression that Botswana is doing well in the sport. But the fact is that local teams are suffering,” he said.
UB Giants player coach, Molekane ‘Sister Betina’ Bokhutlo, also shared the same sentiments, saying that the national softball league is not run well. He threw salvos at BSA, saying they should start off with developing facilities.
“Facilities have to be improved, right now a lot of the sponsors’ money is poured into administration, but there is no evidence of what the money is being used for,” he said.
While the National Diamond ground has hosted many softball games, it still runs without any lights and this often results in games being postponed when darkness falls.
However, Gatalamotho assistant manager, Joel Ramolemana, cautioned against laying all the blame on BSA, as softball is a very expensive sport.
“For example, one glove costs over P7┬á000, one bat costs P4500 while one ball, which has a lifespan of one game, costs over P90,” he said.
Still on softball, the struggling UB Giants went to Jwaneng over the weekend and came back empty handed as they donated three points each to Gatalamotho and Wells. The once mighty UB Giants suffered their first defeat in the first match against the much experienced Wells, who had an easy game and won 14-3.
In the afternoon UB Giants suffered another defeat at the hands of Gatalamotho, who won 7-6.
Coach Molakane Bokhutlo laid the blame on the University of Botswana, saying that it does not support them with adequate resources.
“UB does not take sporting codes seriously, especially softball. Right now we used our own expenses to travel here,” he said.
Efforts to contact BSA, for comment proved futile by the time of going to press.
The BSA Marketing Manager, Major Kwape’s phone was not available.