By:T’soloane Mohlomi

In a bid to revive the once popular sport of baseball and soft ball in Lesotho the Lesotho Baseball & Soft Ball Association recently hosted a tri-national Soft Ball tournament at Mabote ground khubetsoana Berea.

Dubbed the Pit Bulls Summer Tour, the colorful spectacle included both men and women’s teams and also welcomed teams from both Botswana and South Africa.

Participating teams included the Kings, Gills, Ben Killers, Gladiators, Rovers, Barbie Killer, Parentos and The Hawks from Botswana and Royals from the North West Province in South Africa.

The overall standings on the day on the male side resulted with the Royals from South Africa winning the tournament and taking the first place while the Hawks from Botswana came out second and the Kings from Lesotho took the third and last place.

On the women’s side the Parentos came out victorious and took the first spot while Gills secured the second spot and the Barbie killers the third respectively.

The tournament undoubtedly attracted scores of Soft Ball faithful fans and the competition was sponsored by a collage of prominent sponsors which included an endorsement from the Lesotho National Olympic Committee, (LNOC) sponsorship from the Maluti Mountain Brewery, Chaperone, Maluti Mountain Cement and Executive Transport.

In a pre-match interview with the Lesotho Baseball and Soft Ball President Mr. T’seliso Lemphane, The president indicated that the popularity of soft Ball and Baseball had disintegrated and dwindled massively in the past years leaving an extinct impression to people about its status and existence.

 Mr. Lemphane went on to say that during that “dark Period” lovers of the sport resembled a lost herd of sheep which had no guidance or Shepard to stir them in the right direction. He however said those days were over as they were willing to revive the sport in the country and ensure a robust come back.

“We as the LBSA now have these summer tournaments, and we call them festive tournaments because they’re huge. Right now we have six local men’s teams and four women’s teams with the other two from outside the country. We were actually expecting more teams from Botswana but in all honestly we have come from far as soft ball people in Lesotho because it is evident that the sport had remained dormant for a very long time in the country,” he said.

“However last year round about this time we got together and thought to ourselves and decide that it was time to get back to our sport and seek to revive it and come back as a community where we used to be, from a position where we resembled sheep without a Shepard. 

“I can gladly say we are back because we actually started last year with the same Summer Tournament and it was our second tournament after our installation in the LBSA executive, however with last year’s tournament the magnitude was not this size, so I’m really happy today to have a turn up of such a large number of teams and I really do regard this as a milestone.

“So we are reviving the sport and are glad because we have quite a number of sponsors on board, which also include our mother body which is the LNOC, non –governmental associations (NGO’s) and other sponsors which have availed themselves today. In our revival I am happy that we have such a vast number of teams after such a longtime, we want to put soft ball up to scratch on an administration level and the game itself. I am so excited as the current LNBSA president, we are working together with team managers and players to cohesively take the sport to a higher level, when talking about administration its inclusive of : coaching courses, umpiring courses and scoring courses.”

Mr. Lemphane further added that fifteen of his members were going on a 3 day umpiring course this week which would be held online, saying the course would be followed by a physical course in the coming year. He said they were upbeat because a lot of new sponsors were approaching them excitedly saying that there is still a long journey ahead but he is hopeful they will get there.

With regards to the youth and the future of the sport in the country he said they don’t only have youth but children in primary level who are already engaging and taking part in the sport so they are very optimistic about the future of Soft Ball and Baseball in the country.

Avid sports presenter and writer Mr. Khosi Pheko said a lot of old sports are resurfacing in recent time and it is a plus for Basotho as there are other sports that Basotho can excel in instead of the usual soccer, cycling and Running. He said it was good that the government and private sector were showing great enthusiasm when it came to established and emerging sports in the country.

“It’s good that our current administration is taking sport very seriously because this will undoubtedly help us elevate to  the highest levels as Basotho have the potential to excel in other sporting codes excluding our usual soccer, cycling and running. Taekwondo for example was big in the 1900 but subsided over the years in Lesotho, but look at what the likes of Michele Tau are achieving internationally, we have faced a number of economic constraints as a country but I think what some of our sports need is just some reinvestment so that they can pick up again.