Poor turn-out mar softball qualifiers

South Africa and Botswana are the only countries participating in the women's qualifiers PIC: CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
South Africa and Botswana are the only countries participating in the women's qualifiers PIC: CALISTUS KOLANTSHO

PRETORIA: South Africa proved too powerful for the Botswana Under-19 girls in the Africa World Softball Cup qualifiers being held in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, which were marred by a poor turn-out.

South Africa won 7-0 but the result was meaningless as Botswana is also through to the Under-19 Women’s World Softball Championship to be held in the United States later this year.

Only Botswana and South Africa are taking part in the qualifiers after a number of countries pulled out. 

The game was interrupted by rain, but when it resumed, the South Africans swept to victory. Zimbabwe withdrew at the last minute, to leave hosts South Africa and Botswana to slug it out.

The senior men’s team is also in action and began their quest to book a place in Prague, Czech Republic. There are three nations, South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho contesting the men’s qualifiers.

The men’s coach, Pako Moforaga said they had hoped for a higher turn out to gauge their preparedness.

“Some countries did not turn up and there is nothing we can do. What it means now is that we are going to play each team twice. The top two teams will then meet to determine outright number one and number two for seeding purposes at the World Championships,” Moforaga said.

Regarding preparations, he said they had a programme for individual players to follow.

“We rely on the players to follow the programme. At national level, it’s just about fine-tuning and mapping the way forward,” Moforaga said.

Botswana and South Africa are the overwhelming favourites to proceed to Czech Republic in June, at the expense of unheralded Lesotho.

Tshepo Letsholo, the women’s coach, said they had also thought there would be many countries participating in the qualifiers, but found out that there was only South Africa.“This affected our plans as we thought we would gauge our strength against a number of teams,” Letsholo said, adding they would now play five games against South Africa.

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