The Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is facing financial challenges as the Men’s Softball World Cup Africa qualifier approaches.
The event is scheduled to start in Mokopane, Waterberg District, Limpopo, South Africa, from February 26 to March 3, as reported by The Business Weekly Sports.
The association urgently needs around P250,000 to cover the expenses for the tournament, according to BSA spokesperson, Kelly Monyake.
“Right now, we do not have anything in our coffers.”
The association has reached out to the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) for financial assistance but has not received a response, deepening the uncertainty about potential support. She said that BSA is actively engaging with the private sector with the hopes of securing the necessary funds.
“We just hope that someone will come on board to help us,” she stated.
The P250,000 sought by BSA will be allocated for the comprehensive preparation of the team leading up to the competition. Monyake expressed optimism about the men’s national softball team’s performance in South Africa and highlighted the potential significance of securing the first spot in the qualifiers.
“If they do well, which is finishing in the first spot, they will qualify for the second phase of the qualifiers,” the optimistic Monyake said. However, the dates for the second phase, organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), are yet to be announced.
While six countries have shown interest in the first phase of the qualifiers, Botswana and South Africa are the only confirmed participants at this stage. Monyake pointed out that the local team has a commendable record against South Africa, which stands as the main competitor.
“We have defeated them a lot of times in the past,” she said.
Reflecting on a previous competition where South Africa emerged victorious, Monyake attributed the outcome to lapses in the local team, which South Africa capitalised on. Undeterred, she praised the current team of 30 players assembled for trials, describing it as “the best team that we have in the country,” featuring a blend of youth and experience.
As BSA confronts the financial challenges ahead of the Men’s Softball World Cup Africa qualifier, Monyake’s appeal for support echoes the broader uncertainties surrounding the team’s participation in the competition. With the hope that funding can be secured, the association remains committed to showcasing the potential of its talented team on the international stage.
Meanwhile, Botswana’s Men’s National Softball Team head coach Tony Moyo said a total of 30 players have been included on the list, including Kagiso Mogale, a two-time World Cup pitcher who led Botswana to an eighth-place finish in 2017, making the playoffs for the first and only time.
Botswana ranked No. 33 in the WBSC/KONAMI Men’s Softball World Ranking and the country’s last appearance in a Men’s Softball World Cup was in Prague, in 2019, when it finished in 14th place. According to the WBSC website, the upcoming WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup will be the first in its history to be played under the new two-stage format where the Group Stage and Finals will be held in consecutive years.
“Prince Albert, Canada, will host one of the groups from 10 to 14 July, while the Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City, USA will receive a second group, from 17 to 21 September,” reads the website. “The host of the third group will be announced at a later stage. The World Championship Finals will take place in Prince Albert, Canada from 8 to 13 July 2025.”