FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has officially handed over Scramblers softball club to the Francistown community.
The army took a decision to stop funding the team last year in a move aimed at bringing down the BDF expenditure, which was said to be threatening to spiral out of control.
One of the country’s most decorated softball clubs was handed to its interim manager, Bobby Khupe. As part of the handover; 11 balls, 12 helmets, two pairs of shin guards and 11 gloves, four bats and two sets of kits were given to Scramblers. The equipment is worth P29 000 and the army also donated an additional P12 000 to the team.
According to Khupe, when the BDF ceased to financially back Scramblers early last year, it halted its participation in the national softball league and other softball activities until today.
“The BDF has a number of challenges and they are continuously increasing.
These operational commitments call for increased manpower and it is through this reasoning that the high command made a decision for the dissolution of several clubs to enable the defence to fulfil its obligation,” said colonel Shadreck Kgosi of BDF during the handover.
Speaking at the ceremony, Khupe said the army should permit some of the soldiers to continue playing for the team. “It takes years to develop the players. For this reason, we plead with the BDF to be flexible and allow some of their players to play for the team without much hindrance.
“Some of the players have the potential to play in the national team and should the BDF not avail them to us it has the potential to kill their talent and the prospects of the national team,” he explained.
He added that the BDF could also use Scramblers as a feeder team for their main softball club BDF Nine.
Khupe later told SportMonitor that his intention is to see the team campaigning in the league, which starts between September and October.
“We have approached Francistown College of Education (FCE) to use their ground as our training facility and we are awaiting response. We will also approach the city council to assist us with a ground in case we do not get assistance from FCE,” he said.
He also pleaded with sponsors to back the team. He said the team has lost most of its players since losing the BDF sponsorship.
“We currently have three players remaining. We will try to recall some of our players who have joined other teams to come and help us when the season begins later this year,” he said yesterday.