sa U-19s too soft

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

When Mamphiri Sethosa and his national Under-19 softball team left for Canada for the Junior Men's World Championship in Whitehorse last week, they promised to impress in the event.

Instead, the South Africans turned out to be among the championship's whipping boys.

Softball enthusiasts in South Africa are now likely to be subjected to excuses such as "we are still learning", and "it was tough in Canada because we played against strong opponents" from Sethosa and company on their return to the country this weekend.

Sethosa's charges, who were due to meet Denmark late yesterday, only managed one win in eight matches and thus failed to qualify for the quarterfinals of the youth softball showpiece.

Surprisingly, South Africa managed to beat third-ranked United States 10-2.

But they suffered humiliating defeats against weaker opponents like Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela.

The Venezuelans walloped them 11-1 in their opening match, Argentina hammered them 15-3 and Mexico beat them 9-6 in their rain-drenched matches on Tuesday.

World number one New Zealand clobbered them 7-0, number-two ranked Japan buried them 13-1 and three-time defending champions Australia strolled to a 19-0 win over the hapless South Africans.

Canada added to their agony with a 12-5 setback.

South Africa take on equally struggling neighbours Botswana tomorrow.

Botswana were winless from the same number of matches yesterday.

Attempts to get comments from officials from the South African team in Canada drew a blank.

Guillo "S'Dumo" Marapyane, Softball South Africa's president, described their disappointing display in Canada as an "eye-opener".

"We have learnt a great deal from this competition - that we should create an ambitious softball governing body to develop the sport at schools," said Marapyane yesterday.