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Damning report on softball team’s fitness

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Fitness tests conducted on the men’s senior softball team that competed at the 2019 World Baseball Softball Championships has returned a worrying outcome.

According to the report, leaked to Mmegi Sport, all players scored below average, which suggests they were unfit for the global showpiece. Critically, some players went to the tournament in Czech Republic carrying life threatening conditions. Two were diagnosed with severe hypertension and were supposed to see a cardiologist. But they left for the world championships without medical clearance.

Coupled with that, five members of the team had chronic injuries, one had a nagging groin injury, which was not treated, while the other two had hamstring injuries also not treated. Two other players had lower back injuries also not treated. The report further reveals that the team travelled to Czech Republic without a physiotherapist.

Botswana Softball Association (BSA) spokesperson, Kelebogile Seitei said she was not aware of the report.

“I was told that it would be shared but at the moment I have not seen it. That report should have been submitted to the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) doctor. I assumed that is why I have not received a copy,” she said.

Seitei warned that the report is about individuals and their privacy should be respected.

The team coach, Pako Maforaga confirmed receiving the report and said it was unfortunate that players were tested a day before they left for Czech Republic. “The

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tests were not in good faith. You do not test players a day before they leave. We should have engaged the doctor earlier so that we could have done something about the outcomes,” he said.

He suggested that the doctor was just a ‘pawn’ in a game he was not aware of.

“I unreservedly condemn the act,” he added. Maforaga said the report is called a beep test, which is actually a running test, and not necessarily a sport specific test. The beep test is a multi-stage fitness test used to measure cardiovascular fitness. The test is commonly used by coaches and trainers to measure athletes’ fitness. “It would however give you a general idea of an individual’s fitness. It is a multi level test,” he said.

Maforaga admitted that the fitness level of the team was not where it should be at the World Championships.

However, he said one has to note that they were at the end of the BoFiNeT Softball League season and fitness in any given sport would not be at peak at the end of the season.

“Could we have performed better if we were fitter? Not necessarily. We needed more practice time as a team to pick player performance. Fitness would have improved,” Maforaga said.



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