Botswana Softball Association (BSA) president, Marumo Morule, says there is need to improve the game of softball in the country with immediate effect. Lately, the level of softball has gone down, something that has also caused a decline in attendances.
On Saturday afternoon, when Panthers women played Dinare at the National Diamond in Gaborone, there were only a handful of fans in the stands. Both teams used to attract a lot of people to their games.
In an interview with The Telegraph on Monday, Morule attributed the problem to poor facilities at the National Diamond, which makes supporters uncomfortable.
“Even I find it difficult to invite people to the National Diamond to watch the games. We could have renovated the Diamond or moved somewhere but because of the differences we have with BNSC (Botswana National Sports Council) that has not been possible,” he said.
Apart from the facilities, Morule took a swipe at the clubs for not putting enough effort into their game. He said below-par performances by the clubs are a big factor and are chasing away the softball faithful.
“There is a vast difference between our clubs. I think if we had two divisions that could help because the level of competition would improve. If you look at the Panthers and Bears games, they are historic and both sides have not been doing well in recent times,” he said.
Morule further pointed out that softball clubs need to get involved in serious marketing, something which he believes can improve the game.
Vikings manager Clement Gaothuse concurred with Morule that the facilities at the National Diamond are a disaster. He said the Diamond has not received any refurbishments for more than two decades.
“There is a need to improve facilities, especially the stands, because people want to be comfortable when watching the game. As for the level of competition, it is a debatable matter. I believe that in recent times, very hot conditions have made it difficult for the players to perform at the expected standard. If we had floodlights like in Jwaneng, then it would help to have games played in the evening,” Gaothuse added.
Former Panthers star, Marea Modutlwa, said the declining state of softball is a combination of factors. She said that there is a need for more marketing of the game using the print and electronic media.
“If we can have softball fixtures, results and logs in the papers, like football is doing, it would really help our cause. There is also a need to have qualified coaches and umpires to help in the development of softball,” she continued. Modutlwa pointed out that as long as the players are not committed, efforts to improve the game will not work. She advised the current playing personnel that they can only improve at their game by attending training sessions on a regular basis.