Baseball5 African Championship: Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Tunisia qualify for semifinals

Baseball5 African Championship: Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Tunisia qualify for semifinals
The winners of the semifinals will advance to the first-ever WBSC Baseball5 World Cup. Semifinals and medal games are scheduled for Thursday, 26 May.

Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Tunisia qualified for the semifinals of the Baseball5 African Championship - which offers two tickets to the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup in Mexico later this year - following the exciting finale to pool play as well as quarterfinal action at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Wednesday.

Kenya swept Zambia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso in pool play and Ghana in the quarterfinals.
"Players are doing good," commented coach Harry Kalivo. "We had enough time to train and came here ready. Hard work, commitment, and passion have helped us win all the games. We will face a tough team in the semifinal, but I'm confident we will see you again in Mexico for the World Cup."

After losing against South Africa on opening day, Uganda swept the series against Ghana, beat Tunisia, 2-1, swept Zimbabwe and eliminated Ghana to reach the semifinal.
"This tournament is one of a kind. We never had something like this in Africa," commented Uganda's coach Dennis Kasozi. "It gave us a challenge because we had never played Baseball5. We came here with a lot of expectations, and we still have a lot for the semifinal. Uganda is very high on Baseball5. We want to be in the World Cup."

Uganda's captain John Bosco Ssempa added: "We are playing hard, we want to be the champions, make it to the World Cup."

South Africa swept the series against Uganda and Zimbabwe and beat Tunisia and Ghana in pool play. They swept and shut out Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals. "My team has been unbeaten," commented Mariska Barnard, South Africa's captain. "We are heading strong into the semifinals. We have great expectations. The team is full of great vibes. We play for each other. We are here to make our country proud and hopefully qualify for the World Cup."

What's your opinion on the mixed format? "It's the first time that boys and girls can play together. I think the mixed format is great. It forces the boys to take the girls into consideration and forces the girls to level up their game. It's great for development."

Tunisia finished pool play with a 2-2 record after suffering losses against South Africa and Uganda and earning wins against Ghana and Zimbabwe.

In the quarterfinal series, Tunisia came from behind to defeat Tanzania, 2-1, in an emotional best-of-three. Tanzania won the first game, 11-8, in the extra innings. Tunisia won the other two games (14-1, 4-3).

The level of play of the Baseball5 African Championship impressed fans including WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari who tweeted about Day 3 of the competition.