22/02/2024 2 Minute Read

Baseball5 popularity in Africa: Over 1,000 children participate in seven tournaments in six months

Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Zambia, Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania hosted the events. The WBSC signed a MoU with the Olympafrica Foundation and ANOCA in 2021.

Baseball5's popularity in Africa is exploding with the Olympafrica Foundation organising seven tournaments across seven countries over the past six months.

As part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the World Baseball Softball Confederation and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) in 2021, the Olympafrica Foundation is on a mission to grow baseball/softball across Africa using Baseball5, with the Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal in 2026, where Baseball5 is included on the sports programme, the long-term target.

A total of 1,134 children - 628 boys and 506 girls - participated in the events.

Baseball5 is an urban, mixed-gender discipline of baseball/softball and can be played anywhere with a ball the only equipment required.

Zambia opened the series of tournaments on 4 August with 160 children (95 boys and 65 girls) participating in the tournament, which finished on 30 September.

Two more tournaments featuring 160 kids in Ivory Coast (96 boys and 64 girls) and Uganda (80 boys and 80 girls) ran from 5 August to 11 November and 2 September to 25 November respectively. Before Tanghin in Burkina Faso hosted two Baseball5 tournaments from 7 October 2023 to 7 January with a record number (224) of participants - 112 boys and 112 girls - taking part across different events for the school and the community.

A further 100 boys and 60 girls got involved in Baseball5 in Somone, Senegal from 17 September to 4 February while Lagos, Nigeria hosted 65 boys and 45 girls in September.

Tanzania involved 80 boys and 80 girls and ran its tournament in Kibaha from 28 August to 14 October.

Olympafrica group

In October 2021, WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Olympafrica Foundation CEO Alassane Diack and Mustapha Berraf, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) President.

The three organizations agreed to promote sport and sport education in general in Africa and the sport of baseball/softball in particular. The use of Baseball5 as a development tool across five Olympafrica centres and the goal to make it a competitive discipline across the continent were on top of the list.

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The MoU also included encouraging social, economic and personal development through sport, especially for younger athletes; promoting the values and ideals of the Olympic movement; and promoting peace through common sports interests, activities and cooperation.

The WBSC held Baseball5 courses for the directors of Olympafrica centres at the Foundation's bi-annual meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in May 2023.