The stage is set for the Independence softball tournament to be played from today until Sunday at the National Diamond.
However, some clubs have raised concern that the Botswana Softball Association (BSA) has been silent ahead of the tournament. They accuse the mother body of failing to avail the Archein Hardware-sponsored tournament schedule on time.
Titans’ softball club coach, Disang Selemogwe told Mmegi Sport that preparations have been poor because he does not know what is going on. “Preparing for something that you do not have a schedule for is demoralising and defeats the technical preparation purpose. You wonder if the event will take place or not. We received the draft schedule on Tuesday evening and we were told that we are playing on Thursday,” he said. Selemogwe said he does not know which pool Titans has been placed in and it was difficult to plan without knowing their opponents.
BSA public relations officer, Pako Maforaga said things did not go according to plan. “Granted, we are looking to get to a point where clubs should know who they are playing against well on time. This is, however, not a new thing especially where teams toss for slots. This is an issue I will take up with the competition's organiser,” he said. Maforaga said as a coach, he understands the frustration of blind planning. Police IX women’s coach, Phibion Tawina said his players are ready to continue where they left off.
He said it has been an exciting season for the side and there is nothing that can change at the moment. The toss for the tournament was conducted on Wednesday evening. It has been a busy season for softball. The majority of the teams that have qualified for the Independence tournament have been in this type of set-up before. It appears the tournament will not have any upsets. Despite that, some fans hope for an upset, especially from Northern zone teams that have been struggling. On the women’s side, a two-horse race is expected between Titans and Police IX. Fans want to see the day when Vikings, Yankees and Carats commit and compete.
Northern zone teams are having a bad run, which can be attributed to the league set-up. A team that plays every weekend cannot be expected to compete with a team that plays once in two months, reflecting the unlevel playing field between the north and south.
BSA secretary-general, Nozie Payet said preparations for the tournament went smoothly. She said all teams that have qualified for the tournament will be participating. The prize money is the same for both men and women as the champions will take home P20,000. Second placed teams receive P15,000 and P10,000 is reserved for the third position.
The team that finishes fourth gets P7,500 while P6,500 is for the fifth-placed side while P6,000 goes to number six for the sixth slot. Teams in positions seven and eight, pocket P5,000. The participating teams: Women: Titans, Vikings, Police, BDF, Carats, Ghetto Yankees, Scramblers and Wells. Men: Police, BDF, Gata, Vikings, Carats, Rebels, Rail Giants and Raptures.
Pool A: Men: Carats, BDF, Vikings and Rebels.
Pool B: Police, Raptures, Rail Giants and Gata.
Women: Pool A: Titans, Yankees, Wells and Vikings.
Pool B: Carats, Police, BDF and Scramblers.