2020 in Review: 'Federation Focus' series highlights baseball/softball activity around the world

2020 in Review: 'Federation Focus' series highlights baseball/softball activity around the world
The WBSC's new series inaugurated at the start of the year covered 11 different stories of very diverse National Federations Members.

The WBSC has 198 National Federation Members, the bodies that govern baseball and softball in their countries and/or territories. The goal of 'Federation Focus' was to hear their voices and learn about baseball/softball culture and activity in around the world.

Starting in January, the focus went on 11 Federations, published one per month:


The first episode of the Federation Focus series was published in late January and was focused on the Palestinian Baseball and Softball Federation. Mahmoud TAFESH, at the time 34, discovered baseball while in Egypt representing Palestine as a professional soccer player.

He returned to Palestine with the goal of "putting baseball on the map". He reached out to soccer, basketball and volleyball players. At first, only 13 replied. His effort had more success later on. The fact that Tafesh managed to involve women in playing baseball earned him international attention. The number of players started to grow as Tafesh received baseball and softball gear from the WBSC in April 2018.

Tunisia & Guatemala

The second article of the Federation Focus series remained in the Mediterranean Sea area. Tunisia, the country that hosted the first WBSC Congress in 2014, enjoyed a golden age in the 1980s; after which, the National Federation had struggled to further develop baseball and softball. A new impetus came when the president of the Tunisian Baseball and Softball Federation Saber JLAJLA introduced Baseball5 in July 2018.

Guatemala was the first softball Federation to feature in the Federation Focus series. The article was published in late March.

Zambia, Australia & Sri Lanka

The contents of the series perfectly illustrates the diversity that can be found in baseball and softball with Federation Focus visiting Zambia in April, to discover the boost that Baseball5 has given across the country and the continent.

Baseball Australia has been a strong competitor in the international stage for decades. The introduction of Baseball5 provoked as much enthusiasm Down Under as it did in African countries like Tunisia and Zambia that have never participated in a World Cup.

Sri Lanka shared with us the ambition to develop into one of Asia's powers in the June issue.

Lithuania & Venezuela

We had a chance to learn what having Major League Baseball (MLB) players means for baseball visibility in Europe in July. There are only three European countries that have a player performing at that level, one of them is Lithuania.

While baseball is the national sport of Venezuela and we focused on that in the article published in August.

Russia, Iran & Burkina Faso

September took us back to eastern Europe and Russia. The country got in touch with baseball as the main state of the Soviet Union. President Dmitry Kiselev told us about the baseball's promising future in the country.

Before Federation Focus in October helped us discover more of the baseball and softball that is played in Iran. It's another country that has a lot of expectations with the potential of Baseball5 and its cost-effective way to develop baseball softball across all levels.

The last episode of 2020 took us back to Africa for one of the most popular features in the series. Ibrahima Sibore, the newly elected President of the Burkina Faso Baseball & Softball Federation shared with us his bold vision, which includes a new stadium and the first professional league in Africa.

The Federation Focus series will be back in January. The WBSC Media Department is naturally open to suggestions for future potential features.

View all the articles of the Federation Focus series

End of Year Review series

2020 - WBSC Athletes Commission stays active, reviews game amid COVID-19 pandemic
2020 - End-of-the-year message from WBSC President to the global Baseball Softball community
2020 - Baseball 5 - Baseball5 takes the sport to communities never reached before
2020 - Softball: Olympic Softball architect Don Porter passes away; U-18 Men only World Cup played in disrupted year
2020 - Baseball: An international baseball season like no other
2020 - U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup: Japan wins lone global baseball/softball event in 2020
2020 - Development: Global baseball-softball development doesn’t stop amid global pandemic
2019 WBSC Congress one-year progress report: An unforgettable year in many ways
2019: Year in Review