Hard times for softball

Baitshepi Sekgweng
BACK THEN: Softball teams in action during BOFINET League

League set for return next year with or without sponsor

As local sports crawl back to action after a lengthy drought due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) says the league will commence in January 2022 with or without sponsors.

The league was cut short during the 2019/20 season due to the pandemic. While preparations were in place to start the 2020/21 season in January, sporting activity came to a screeching halt in the face of skyrocketing Covid-19 cases.

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Back then the league was under the auspices of Botswana Fibre Networks (BOFINET) who were on their last year of sponsorship deal signed back in 2018.

Since the deal elapsed in April, BSA has been hard at work trying to secure sponsors for the national league.

However with efforts to solicit a sponsor proving more difficult, the association believe they will start the league in January even without the backing of a sponsor.

“With or without a sponsor the league will run because we will do that with the subvention from the commission. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need help, we still need sponsors it’s just that softball play has to proceed even if we haven’t secured a sponsor,” said BSA mouthpiece Boipelo Marope in an interview with Voice Sport.

At this juncture it seems very possible for BSA to use part of their grant to finance the league since they have been named in Botswana National Sports Commission’s (BNSC) top six high impact sport codes.

As the build-up to return to action gains momentum, Marope says following engagements with their affiliates they have agreed to conduct a SHE training course first for teams.

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Once the training concludes, teams will then commence training with the league set for January.

Marope said though the efforts to secure a sponsor are ongoing, it’s a tough job as potential partners have indicated a severe knock financially, therefore struggling with daily financial operations. Nevertheless Marope said they are in talks with potential sponsors.

“The current economic climate has made it difficult to conclude sponsorship talks with potential sponsors. The will however is there for companies to participate in sports development. I’m sure that the status quo will improve in the coming financial year for companies to consider corporate social responsibility as opposed to now,” said Marope.

The relationship between BSA and BOFINET which ended in April dates back to 2014 when the latter injected P1 million into the league.

The deal was later renewed in 2015 for a period of three years with an increased sponsorship value of P4.5 million.

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A further extension was signed in 2018 with a value of P4.5 million to run the league with P1.5million per season.

Therefore there is still hope that the wholesale internet provider will once more jump to the opportunity of backing the softball league.

 

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