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The Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is busy at work with the preparations for the upcoming Africa Softball Senior Women qualifiers that will pit eight African countries against each other in Gaborone next month.
Happening for the first time in Botswana, the qualifiers will be held at the National Diamond Softball Grounds from the 6th to the 10th February 2023 and participating countries will include Botswana, Tanzania, Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Only two top teams from the qualifiers will have the opportunity to compete at the Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stages set for July this year in Europe. The group games will be played in three groups, A,B and C. African representatives will be placed in Groups A and B.
The stages will determine those that will reach the World Competitions in 2024.
The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) last month launched the Local Organising Committee (LOC) which is currently collaborating and engaging with different stakeholders to make the event a success.
BSA Public Relations Officer Pako Maforaga told Times Sport that the senior women’s national team is hosting regular training sessions to prepare players for the competition. He noted that a total of 19 players have been selected to form part of the team that will compete in the qualifiers.
Maforoga added that as part of the preparations the team will also hold a training camp from the 25th January in Jwaneng. He assured that the host grounds are in a good standard recommended by World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) to host the competitions indicating that only minor infrastructure maintenances were done.
Maforaga believes that the competition will go a long way in developing the local standard of softball and also expose local talent internationally.
He is of the view that through the competition, the passion and interest on the sport among local softball players will be reignited.
“The qualifiers will give women an opportunity to participate in higher level competitions as they have not been actively participating on such competitions as compared to the men’s team,” said Maforaga.
Besides just sport exposure, Maforaga said the competitions bring immense economic opportunities for the host city.
Meanwhile, BSA President Katlholo Mosimanegape has recently revealed that the cost to deliver the successful games is estimated to be around P1 million. BSA won the bid to host the games last year after BNSC acceded to their request to try their luck against other African.