Ghetto Yankees and Botswana Under-19 pitcher Samuel Kunyalala has attracted interest from an undisclosed Japanese elite league side. The youngster will be travelling to his new club this today.
Interest in the talented youngster comes some sensational performances at the WBSC Softball Division Junior Men Championships which were held in Midland, Michigan, last year.
It is said that since his last throw of the ball at the championships, a number of clubs from both Japan and New Zealand have been keeping a close eye on him with a view of recruiting him into their ranks.
The 19-year-old was influential in Botswana’s first match against Denmark at the championships with his stunning pitches propelling Botswana to a smooth victory. His exceptional talent was also vital in the placement round when Botswana beat South Africa to claim 9th place.
While the pitcher was expected to sign a two-year contract at his new club, it has since been revealed that due to some technicalities, it was decided that he sign a six-months deal for close monitoring before he signs a long term one.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Glamour Sport spokesperson Comfort Ramatebele confirmed that the player will be leaving today after concluding negotiations in the past week.
“Through his guardians, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) and other stakeholders involved, the green light was given that the boy leaves for Japan to play softball in a professional set up,” said Ramatebele.
He said that he was impressed by the level of talent appreciation shown by Kunyalala’s parents, who he says were only keen to see their son make a bold move of playing overseas in a professional setup.
The only other notable softball talent from Botswana to make it in the professional set-ups abroad was another pitcher, Tony Moyo, who once plied his trade in Holland.
“It is very rare for players in other sporting codes such as softball to attract interest overseas but it is a fact that there is a lot of talent in this country that only need to be exposed to the world. We need to have platforms that will expose our youngsters to competing at the highest level,” Ramatebele said.
For his part, an excited BSA president Tirelo Mukokomani revealed that there is a lot of talented youngsters in the local softball set-up who have the potential to be exported to foreign top leagues. He said it is just a matter of hard work and support for players to make the cut and play against the best in the world.
“Our mandate is to create opportunities for athletes to play at the highest level. Kunyalala is one of the talented youngsters who will open doors for other players in the top leagues and we believe if the ‘Re ba bona ha’ programme is fully utilised, we are bound to celebrate more stars in the near future,” said Mukokomani.