At 45 years, Tshepo Letsholo is one of the oldest softball players in the country, but still gives youngsters a run for their money.
The Bears player says although she is still playing, her days on the pitch are numbered.
She says it was only a matter of time before she makes her exit from the game official.
Letsholo also plays for Diamonds Masters, which is a team for retired players.
“I have been assisting Bears because it lost many players to newly formed club so I had to pick them up,” she says.
Letsholo started playing softball in 1988 when she was a Form One student at Swaneng Hill School in Serowe.
“I went to watch my sister training and the then coach showed me how to use the glove and throw the ball. It all started there and I have been playing softball since then,” she explains.
After completing her education at Swaneng, Letsholo was recruited by Bears, which was then coached by Michael ‘Sticker’ Mokgautsi. After a few years, Nnana Seikano took over the reigns as her coach.
Letsholo played for the national team between 1994 and 2017, where she captained the side.
“I have represented Botswana across Africa and the rest of the world like Canada, Netherlands, Italy and Venezuela,” Letsholo says, as she reflects on her 32-year career.
Letsholo says the support from her family has always been amazing because she was doing well academically at school. So, there was no reason for her parents to deny her participating in sport. “My sisters would always go and support me when I had matches. It was fine for me because my parents did not know about softball so they were not aware of the danger part of it,” she laughs.
During her career, Letsholo won countless championships with Bears.
“In my career, I have done so well because I have received many individual awards. Last year during Phikwe Extravaganza tournament, I walked away with Best Batter and Most Valuable Player awards. This happened when I was just playing to keep fit,” she says.
Letsholo was appointed national Under-19 team coach in 2018. She led the team that participated at the
“As a coach I have experienced a lot and learnt so much from coaches; coaching skills, game tactics and strategies. I have been a coach for two years now,” she says.
When asked about the current level of softball compared to the previous years, Letsholo reveals the play has declined.
“It is mainly because nowadays it is about winning championships than perfecting the right fundamental skills such as fielding, ground balls, throwing mechanics, hitting and pitching. Those are critical to the development of our youngsters. We are failing to develop athletes because of issues of overtime in schools,” she says.
Letsholo says the training period is short and league games are played in a tournament form. She adds there is not enough time to prepare players for the next game. She says even in the softball league, the focus is on players who bring quick results and not give others a chance.
“The system being used whereby the league is played once and we move on to Top 8, the coach uses players that bring results. Developing upcoming players is difficult because the focus is on winning. That affects the quality of softball because it is all about winning and money. There is no second round unlike in the past,” she says.
Letsholo is married to Segale [Letsholo]. They are blessed with a 14-year-old daughter. She says her role model is her mother and she has inspired her in many ways.
“I always look up to her as she has achieved great things and has always been striving to achieve bigger and better things. A God-fearing woman who is always positive and calm,” she says.
Letsholo says her role models in softball were the men and women with who she played shortstop being Lorato Mokgosana, Kabelo Kwape and Meshack Bonang.
Full names: Tshepo Letsholo
Date of birth: August 26, 1975
Place of birth: Serowe
Hobbies: Going to church and listening to gospel music