23/05/2022 2 Minute Read

Baseball5 African Championship - Day One: Hosts Tanzania lead the way with three wins from three as the country's baseball and softball leaders target Youth Olympic Games 2026

"It's a big event, the first of this magnitude in Africa and, of course, the first in Tanzania," baseball and softball leaders in the country say.

Hosts Tanzania set the pace on Day One of the first ever Baseball5 African Championship, which is a qualifier for the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup, after claiming three wins from three games to top Group B with Kenya close behind with two wins from two.

Tunisia and South Africa lead Group A with one win a piece.

There are nine participating National Teams competing in the first ever Baseball5 African Championship - which is being held in the National Stadium in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania - plus Egypt, which was a late withdrawal. The 10 teams are split into two groups.

Group A: Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe
Group B: Burkina Faso, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

Each participant has an eight-player roster, made up of four male and four female athletes. Round-robin play will qualify four teams from each group into the elimination phase: quarterfinals, semifinals, and the African Championship/Final game.

Each game is played over the best of three sets.

The winners of the semifinals will play for the first-ever African Baseball5 title and advance to the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup, which is due to be held later this year.

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The African Baseball5 Championship is a first of its kind for the Tanzania Baseball Softball Association TaBSA). Secretary general Alpherio Moris Nchimbi talked about the event with the WBSC and how it is an important step on to qualifying for the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup and the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026, where Baseball5 will make its Olympic debut.

"Since 2018, Tanzania has concentrated on Baseball5," commented Moris Nchimbi. "The activity started after WBSC instructors coached our staff. In 2020 we hosted another seminar by the WBSC, and from there, we concentrated on Baseball5. TaBSA provided strategic training for the local coaches. We introduced the game to primary and secondary school students, that is to say, the U-12 and U-15 age brackets. I would say we can now field good teams in these age brackets."

How did you select the National Team?
"We concentrated on kids above the age of 15. We selected 22 players through our local competition and thanks to local coaches. After the first camp, we cut the number to 13 and kept them in camp. Now the roster is down to 8 players."

In early 2012, Shinya Tomonari and the Association for Friends of African Baseball (renamed the Japan-Africa Baseball and Softball Foundation) introduced baseball to Tanzania.

How challenging is hosting the inaugural African Baseball5 Championship?
"It's a big event, the first of this magnitude in Africa and, of course, the first in Tanzania. The biggest challenge was finding local sponsors. Baseball/softball in Tanzania is a new game compared to sports like soccer or track and field."

How could you secure the National Stadium in Dar Es Salaam as the field of play?
"Thanks to our good relationship with the government of Tanzania, it was easy to get the field we will use. Thanks to this relationship, we even got it free of charge."

How do you foresee the future of Baseball5 in Tanzania?
"We started in primary schools, with nine-year-old kids. The ultimate goal is to have these kids represent Tanzania in the 2026 Youth Olympics," said Nchimbi on a final note. "We already started competing for the youth age bracket and top-level athletes, and in September, we are planning to organize the first National Championship."

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- Federation Focus Tanzania