22/02/2020 - 01/03/2020

@wbsc   #U18SoftballMWC  

Hosted by:   NZL

U-18 Men's Softball World Cup 2020 - Official Payoff

Africa's diamond in the sporting rough

Africa's diamond in the sporting rough
24/02/2020
A joint initiative of the WBSC Development Commission and the African Baseball and Softball Association, the African Development Program is lifting the profile and professionalism of baseball and softball in Africa. Mashilo Matsetela, the Continental Vice President of Softball in Africa, and President of Softball South Africa discussed the ADP at the U-18 Men's Softball World Cup.

There is a proud history of sport in Africa.

The continent has produced some of the best athletes the world has ever seen in a wide variety of sports.

Rugby, football and athletics have long dominated the African sporting landscape, but programs like the WBSC's African Development Project (ADP) are ensuring softball and baseball are given every chance to succeed in Africa.

The ADP was born from the WBSC African Baseball Summit in 2017, and is a joint initiative of the WBSC Development Commission and the African Baseball and Softball Association.

The three-phase program is in full effect in countries like Kenya, Lesotho, Cotê d’Ivoire and Kenya, with the progress evident to Mashilo Matsetela, the Continental Vice President of Softball in Africa, and President of Softball South Africa.


Read More: 2019: Development - Africa Dev Programme & Women’s Baseball lead impressive year of growth


“We have already seen evidence of the ADP’s effects all over Africa,” Matsetela said.

“Administration and leadership courses have been run in a number of countries, which have had extremely positive feedback.

“There are more accredited coaches than ever before, and with more technical courses planned, the professionalism and skills of African players, coaches and officials will only increase.”

Another key step for the development of high-performance athletes is African representation at world events, with South Africa’s presence at the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup a prime example.

The South African team have won the hearts and minds of the Palmerston North locals with their singing, dancing and vibrant, infectious energy in everything they do. This comes as no surprise to Matsetela.

“South Africans love to sing and dance, it’s part and parcel of our culture and tradition,” Matsetela said with a smile.

“The singing brings the vibe to the tournament and motivates the players.

“This is something we’re known for worldwide. When we’re happy, sad, or struggling, we sing.”

Following the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup the focus returns to the ADP, and reaching countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo and Togo, where there is a need for increased technical expertise.

“In those countries, there is interest and passion for the game,” Matsetela said.

“But what they lack is the expertise to teach players skills, teach coaches leadership techniques and teach technical officials best practice.

“History continues to be made in Africa. For example, Nigeria recently hosted coaching clinics for ladies teams, which has never happened before.”

Results won’t happen overnight – Matsetela understands this – but the groundwork is in place for unprecedented growth.

“The ideal takeaway is to grow the number of WBSC affiliates, and enhance the development of African players, coaches and technical officials,” Matsetela said.

“We know the sport can grow in the long run, and we’re excited to see how far this program can go.”