The Bofinet Softball League finally starts after delay

By KAGISO FOX PHATSIMO

The 2017/18 Bofinet Softball League, BSL, will finally commence this weekend after weeks of delay. Unconfirmed reports alleged that disgruntled umpires were the main reasons why the BSL had been postponed. But after mediation meetings involving the Botswana Softball Association,  BSA, and the Umpires Committee, and the Annual General Meeting last weekend in Palapye, it’s all systems go.

 

The sport’s most prestigious competition will kick-off at the National Diamond Ground in Gaborone on Friday, where two games are planned. The BSL Southern Region will be officially launched at the Sports Complex in Lobatse on Saturday, hosted by BMC Rivals IX. A total of nine games will be played from Friday to Sunday.

 

Police IX ladies, the defending champions, will open the fixtures with a game against Panthers, last season’s runners-up, at 6pm on Friday evening. Games between the two rivals are always thrilling. Although Ditau won their last encounter which was the 2017 Selibe Phikwe Extravaganza cup final, Panthers got the better of them in the preliminary stages of the tournament back in July. This sets up for an unpredictable contest.

 

Panthers men will tussle against Police IX, last season’s runners-up, in game two on Friday night starting at 8pm. Ditau will be hoping to get their campaign off to a good start, after impressing by reaching the BSL finals where they lost against BDF IX last term. Panthers on the other hand will want to outdo last season’s performance where they failed to reach the finals.

 

BMC Rivals IX, who have been below par in recent times, will be motivated by the arrival of a new coach. Tebogo Johannes joined Rivals from Titans at the start of the season, and has vowed to make them better. In an interview with Echo Sport a fortnight ago, coach Johannes said he is targeting top 8 finishes with the male and female teams.

 

“We began our pre-season in September. We started with a training camp which focused on the physical aspect of the game. We got to travel to South Africa where we competed in an invitational tournament in October. We got to try out combinations and gauge our strengths and weaknesses,” coach Johannes said.

 

“Since that tournament we have been working on improving our play. The boys and girls are ready for the League. With confidence and self-belief, we can achieve our goal. We want to qualify for the top 8. We believe that is an attainable target.”

 

BMC ladies will host Titans at Lobatse Sports Complex starting at 12 noon on Saturday, before BMC men face UB Giants at the same field at 2pm. The final game in Lobatse on Saturday will have BMC ladies face UB Giants, at 4pm.

 

Rivals ladies captain, Keneilwe Moshoboro, echoed her coach’s words adding they’re ready to fight for top 8.

 

“The girls have been training really hard prior to the league. We are ready to push for better results. In the past we were hurt by giving our opponents too much respect, but not any-more. We are going approach all teams with the determination to win,” captain Moshoboro said.

 

The four fixtures on Sunday in Lobatse will start with Stingers vs. BMC men at 9am, followed by BMC ladies vs. BDF IX, the defending champions, at 11am. Stingers men vs. Eagles will kick off at 1pm, while the last game will be BMC men vs. BDF IX at 3pm.