Botswana women softball senior national team received some free softball lessons as they were humiliated 12 ÔÇô 0 by the visiting Chukyo University ladies softball team in a friendly match played at the National Diamond, Gaborone this past Friday.
Taking to the field after watching their neighbours and fellow would be Africa representatives at the Women’s Softball World Championship South Africa trounced 11 ÔÇô 1 by the Japanese University team, Botswana was no match for the Japanese students as they easily dealt with them in just four innings.
Speaking after the defeat, ladies senior national team Coach Bobby Khupe said the game had exposed them to a lot of things they need to change before they go to the World Championships.
“One of the biggest things we have to change that I have observed is that we have to change the way we bat. If you look at the Japanese players, they play snappy shots and do not emphasise on power. They are very agile and quick with and without the ball,” Khupe opined.
“As for us, we play the British and American way where we want to hit the ball with power and it does not always work out well for us. We need to change that and it will take a lot of effort,” he said.
According to Khupe, for this to happen, it should start at the clubs where players spend most of their time.
“If we try to enforce this at the national team level only, it will not be effective because we spend just a little time with players at national team level. The change has to be effected consistently over a period of time and this can be only done at clubs. There has to be cohesion between what we do at club level and national team,” Khupe explained.
Another thing the ladies senior national team coach believes has to change is the self discipline within the local players.
“When we went to South Africa for the qualifiers, every one of our players was athletic and fit. They stuck to certain diets. However, since coming back, it seems they have ditched the diets they were following and most have now gained more weight and lost their sharpness. Our players need to have the discipline to keep themselves fit, agile and athletic if they are to compete,” he said.
Meanwhile, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) Public Relations Officer Kelebogile Seitei said the association, with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had brought the Chukyo University into the country to build capacity.
“As an association, we believe we can learn a lot from the Japanese, who are the number one ranked country in the world,” she revealed.
Seitei said there was a lot that the Chukyo University ladies team could teach the local senior women national softball team, hence they have played and trained with them during their stay here.
“This is not even the Japanese national team, but just university students but you can see they are very good,” she explained.
To ensure that Africa is well represented at the oncoming World Championships, Seitei said they had also invited South Africa so that they can also benefit from the Japanese.
“We believe we cannot be happy being the best in the continent while playing against a weak opposition. We had to invite our strongest opponents and neighbours because if they grow strong, we will have a strong competitor and grow as well,” she concluded.