Botswana senior women’s team flew out yesterday to Utrecht, Netherlands to take part in the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe/Africa Olympic Games qualifiers for the first time.
The qualifiers run from July 23 to 27, 2019. Botswana is ranked number 43 and together with South Africa, who are number 28, will represent Africa at the qualifiers. Botswana is in the same group as Italy, Czech Republic and France.
The team coach, Tawina Phibion said he does not believe that European countries are better in terms of playing softball.
“Mental preparation is important. When you are there you should know what you are doing. We should not let colour scare us because that normally makes the players panic and they end up not playing the way they normally do. We should not fear our opponents,” he said.
Phibion said representing Africa at the qualifiers is a huge honour for his team. He said preparations were not up to scratch. He stated that the important thing is that players are going to compete.
“The players are going to compete and I would be there to guide them. Unfortunately, we did not get friendly matches against other countries,” Phibion said.
“Friendly matches were going to assist me to check if the players are adapting to the style of play I want. We tried to gauge them during the Phikwe Extravaganza, but it was not enough because they were playing for their individual clubs.”
Regarding the type of play to expect at the qualifiers, Phibion said there is no use to change a working formula, but rather improve on it. Phibion said he believes that the team that he has assembled would do a good job and it was not necessarily up to certain players to stand out.
Meanwhile, Phibion said the team has done medical fitness checks, but he is not completely happy about their fitness.
“I cannot say I am happy, I would have loved them to be at an upper level because I believe in an aggressive game. It’s exhausting because you have to put out all you have. However, I would use what I have.”
Team captain, Nametsegang Mathame told Mmegi Sport that the morale was high in the camp. She said they have watched European qualifiers and believe that they are at par with other teams.
The team: Pitchers: Onneetse, Gotlamang Sixpence, Boitshepo Kgojane, Lesego Ditau.
Catchers: Goitseone Monyadzwe and Bafedile Dube.
Infield: Mathame, Lorato Ntsholetsang, Morongwa Sephekolo, Charity Isaac, Kedibonye Mogatusi.
Outfield: Kagiso Lowang, Bonolo Molefhe, Onalenna Phetogo, Maitumelo Serumola.
Alternatives: Mashia Villander.
Officials: Bokhutlo Molekane (head of delegation), Boitshepo Mooki (manager), Isang Isaiah (scorer), Abel Mataboge (umpire), Sthabile Machao (physio), Dr Monkgogi Thakgathi (team doctor).