PALAPYE: The 10th anniversary of the Selebi-Phikwe Softball Extravaganza promises to be the greatest with surprise additions from the qualifiers and maiden appearance of regional teams from South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The prestigious tournament was on the verge of collapse when the BCL Mine pulled out as sponsors in 2016, but SPEDU and the Selebi-Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) stepped in last year and took over as parent partners.
Oeme Morupisi, the local organising committee logistics director, said preparations for the tournament are almost complete and the town is ready to welcome the clubs and softball enthusiasts. He said they are not ready to reveal the tournament’s total sponsorship as they are still tying finer details with other sponsors.
“We are finalising negotiations with other sponsors and in a short while, we will call a press conference to reveal everything,” he said.
“But we are ready. We have given this tournament to the leadership of the town and they have ensured smooth preparations. Our grounds are kept in good condition by the council and the logistics are ready.”
He was optimistic that the tournament would be the best thus far in terms of competition. “It is unpredictable with surprise packages from the eliminators and the addition of regional competitors.” Bat and Balls Sporting Academy of Harare, Zimbabwe is expected to bring two teams; men and women, while Vaal University
This weekend, the last round of eliminators would be held in Gaborone for the southern zone men’s teams.
The rest of the eliminators were held last weekend in the south for the women and in the northern zone for both women and the men.
Sua Raiders, who started competing in the league last year stunned and replaced Rail Giants women who have been dominant in the northern zone.
Giants were perennial competitors in the extravaganza and second runners-ups in last year’s edition. Raiders went 13-6 past Giants, 9-1 past Ghetto Yankees and lost 8-2 to Carats but managed to secure their passage. They have qualified alongside Carats and Scramblers from the North.
In the men’s section, Rail Giants qualified to represent the north, alongside Carats and Rebels. UB Giants and Raiders have qualified in the southern zone’s women section. Giants edged last year’s runners-up, Panthers 5-4, beat Titans 5-2 and marginally lost 3-2 to Vikings. They have qualified alongside Wells and Vikings. Police and Wells automatically qualify as women and men’s defending champions respectively, and Phikwe Comets also have a berth as the hosts.