Saturday, November 26, 2022

Shell sponsorship good news for softball development

The recent P300┬á000 sponsorship of the Botswana Softball leagues by Shell Botswana will come as a major boost to the fortunes of the sport and the women’s softball in particular.

The sponsorship, which was launched in the past week, will cover both the men and women’s leagues, bringing to an end the struggle of Botswana Softball Association (BSA) to find suitors for the ladies’ game. Under the new sponsorship, both the men and the ladies’ leagues will have an equal share of the sponsorship money.

This will also extend to the prize money where both the winning teams and the runners up will get P15┬á000 and P12 000, respectively, across the gender divide. Speaking in an interview, BSA President, Marumo Morule, said the inclusion of women’s league in the sponsorship will not only motivate the ladies in their game but will also ensure the BSA can use funds they used to sponsor the women’s league on other important aspects of the game. “As you may have been aware, in the past season, the BSA was the sponsor of the women championships as they had no sponsor. Now, the money that could have been used to sponsor them will now be used for administrative and developmental duties,” Morule said.

The BSA president says apart from increasing the competitiveness of the ladies’ league, it is the national teams that stand to benefit much.

“We have junior ladies championships coming this December and this league will help them prepare as they will be playing in it,” the BSA President added.

While expressing delight at the benefits teams will get from the Shell sponsorship, Morule is adamant that the new sponsorship goes beyond ‘what appears on paper.’

“While the bulk of the sponsorship will surely go towards prize monies, close to P50┬á000 of the sponsorship money will go towards the administration of the league. Apart from buying balls, it will also be used on the development of officials. These will include coaches, umpires and scorers,” Morule said.

He says the benefits of such an undertaking will be felt in the sport for a long time.
The Shell sponsorship will be for one season only with‘likelihood to be extended should the sponsor see value for their investment.

Meanwhile, the BSA president says there will be some changes in the structure of this season’s league. Unlike in the past where top eight teams were picked from the best positioned teams in both the North and South regions, this time around teams will have to battle for a spot in the top eight.

“We want the top eight or the championship to be representative of the best eight teams and as such we have decided to change the way the top eight are selected,” Morule said.

Under the new structure, best teams from both zones will, at the end of the season, be put into four groups of four, where they will battle it out. The top two teams in each of the four groups will then go into the championship round.

Morule says best teams will be seeded in the group stages, effectively meaning the best teams will avoid each other in group stages.

The new softball season is expected to kickoff next month (September).

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