- It is hoping for a wild card to the global showpiece
- The country appeared at two previous editions of the tournament
The team failed to qualify for the global showpiece after losing 4-3 to South Africa in the finals of the Africa qualifiers which were held in Pretoria, South Africa this last weekend.
The team had begun the competition on a high note by thrashing Kenya 10-0 and defeating hosts South Africa 2-0 in the second encounter. However, they failed to beat South Africa when it mattered the most – the finals, and the sole spot for Africa at WBSC Softball World Cup 2022 went to the hosts.
“We made a lot of errors in the final (against South Africa) which our opponents capitalised on,” said Team Manager Tebogo Johannes in an interview. “Yes, we have not qualified but we will not keep our heads down as we understand that losing is a part of the sport. We will soldier on and we intend to keep our team on periodic intervals training camps. We want to keep them fit for upcoming international events.”
Johannes added that they are hoping to get invitations from various Federations as they prepare their teams for the World Cup. “They know our strength and they understand that we can help them prepare better,” he said. “That will also work to our advantage as our players will get the much-needed exposure. Our team has to keep the momentum as we do not want what happened in South Africa happening again.”
In the end, said Johannes, something may yet be salvaged as the national senior men’s softball team might be given a wild card to the Word Cup. “We are not saying we are going to be given it,” he noted. It is our hope that we will get it, looking at our recent performance in South Africa. We have also been doing well at the global level in recent years. But then again, no African country has been given a wild card in the past and if WBSC decides to give it to the continent it might be to us. This is why we have much hope.”
The team that failed to qualify in South Africa was made up of experienced players who include 12 of the 2019 squad that finished 14th at the 2019 WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup and eight players from the 2017 World Cup team that delivered a historic campaign that advanced to the playoffs for the first time in the nation’s history. Kagiso Mogale, Pamidzani Mazulungwa, Karabo Motsholathebe and Kunyalala Samuel were among four pitchers on the staff.
The 2022 WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup will take place from 26 November to 4 December in Auckland, New Zealand. Originally set for February 2021, the tournament was postponed to 2022 because of safety precautions and international travel restrictions imposed everywhere soon after the outbreak of the damnable COVID-19 pandemic.