SA should steal home at tourney

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

While Botswana face a potentially tough match in their opening match of the VIII Junior Men's Fast Pitch Tournament in Canada on Friday, South Africa have a relatively easy fixture against Venezuela.

Botswana, who are rated number 15 in the world by the International Softball Association (ISF), engage the fifth-ranked three-time defending champions Australia. The ISF has 130 member countries.

The quadrennial junior softball fiesta will be held at the popular Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse and the final will be on June 29.

South Africa and Botswana, who are both making their debuts, are African countries in the showpiece.

The South Africans, who left for Canada on Monday, made a dreadful debut in the tournament in 1999.

Others countries in the tournament are Japan, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Argentina, Mexico and Czech Republic.

South Africa, who are rated 14th in the world and highest on the continent, cannot afford to underestimate Venezuela, who have good players.

The locals will have to deal with the likes of Oriam Mendina, Darnis Veloza and Carlos Santodomingo from the Venezuelan side that is ranked 17th.

But Mamphiri Sethosa, the national head coach, should be happy that players like Thabang Kekana, Anthony Karusseit and Katlego Masemola are playing fantastic softball.

They were influential in South Africa's 15-11 triumph over Botswana in Gaborone in a warmup match on Saturday. But they lost 1-5 in their second tie against Batswana on Sunday.

Sethosa said the underdogs tag has motivated them for the challenges in Canada.

South African squad:

Pitchers - Kekana, Karusseit, Thabo Molaudzi, Xola Ngquseka

Catchers - Ruan Barnard, Dean Boxshall

Infielders - Kegan Watson, Pumlani Minya, Lindsey Kerchhoff, Thakgalang Maphetho

Outfielders - Darren Meintjies, Cinga Msi, Brandon Scullard

Utility - Ryan Bann, Masemola, Jonathan Jacobs, Johannes Kruger.