Local umpire Abel Mataboge has been selected to umpire at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Senior Men’s World Championships slated for this year in Canada.
The 15th WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship will be staged in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, from 7 to 16 where 24 umpires from 15 countries have been selected to officiate.
“I achieved this through sheer hard work and dedication,” Mataboge explained.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Standard Sports, Mataboge said for him to make it into the list of World Championships umpires, he had to go through some evaluation.
“For someone to make for World Championships, that person has to be evaluated in three segments. Firstly, a candidate must complete and achieve a 90-percent mark on a 100-question test. If you pass, you are then evaluated in games as a pre-qualification candidate as well as on the understanding of play at the bases.
According to Mataboge, umpires who take the time to advance their knowledge and increase their skill level will have the ability to be assigned to local, regional and national championships.
While he has umpired once in the Under-16 World Cup and three times for world championships, Mataboge says he is excited at the prospect of umpiring the senior men’s games which will be a first for him.
The appointment of Mataboge has also been lauded by the Botswana Softball association (BSA). Mataboge is the only umpire in Botswana to make the grade for the WBSC, and one of the only two African umpires who will officiate at the championships. The other umpire is South African Ashley Mmakola.
Still on the umpires’ issue, WBSC Softball Division president Dale McMann has alluded that the inclusion of umpires from all over the world shows the growth of knowledge of the game across the globe.
“This global selection of umpires highlights the growing base of knowledgeable softball officials and leaders around the world,” said McMann. “These important officials ensure the integrity of our Softball World Championships and also help ensure our sport is officiated uniformly in their home countries, which is a key factor in our development aims to grow our sport.”
Umpires for the flagship men’s softball competition will come from Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Africa, USA and Venezuela.The Men’s Softball World Championship was last held in 2015 in Saskatoon, SK, Canada, where Canada was crowned world champions, New Zealand earned silver and Venezuela claimed bronze.
Meanwhile, the BSA says the umpire will be accompanied by two local softball senior men teams to the championships which will be representing Botswana.