WBSC runs Baseball5 webinars for development in Africa

WBSC runs Baseball5 webinars for development in Africa
Four online courses brought together officials and coaches from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

Representatives from eight African National Federations participated in a series of Baseball5 webinars, which brought together officials from Botswana (1), Ghana (2), Kenya (2), South Africa (3), Tanzania (1), Tunisia (2), Uganda (1) and Zambia (1).

WBSC Coach Commission Member Andrea D'Auria conducted the four webinars, which provide a prelude to global webinars planned for later in the year.

The first module was about Baseball5 in general. It included information about how to set up the field-of-play and involved both game officials (umpires, scorers) and coaches.

The second webinar was dedicated to scoring and umpiring.

Coaching was targeted in the third and fourth webinars. They were introduced to the fundamentals of the discipline, including how to warm up before practice, how to organize a practice session, and how to run the bases. They were also introduced to game strategy.

"I really appreciated the initiative," commented Mokrani Chedli, a WBSC Baseball5 Continental Instructor from Tunisia. "Andrea did a great job and I want to thank everybody with the WBSC staff. I hope in the future we will be able to interact during seminars."

"We learned a lot of new things about Baseball5 during the webinar," added Kenny Matishi, Member at Large in the Board of the Zambia Softball Baseball Association. "I was able to identify the mistakes I make while coaching. I'm looking forward to applying the knowledge with the teams. I think we are heading the right way to develop Baseball5 in Zambia and all of Africa. We are hopeful we can start our player selection for the African Qualifier by mid-June."

"The webinar was quite helpful as it addressed most of what I expected," commented Mussa Mbugi, a former exchange student in the USA who introduced baseball in Tanzania in 2012. "The pace of the webinar was satisfactory as it did not need me to stare at my screen for a long time and it was engaging. Even when I missed a live session, we were provided with a second chance to attend a repeated live session of the webinar and even if I missed the live sessions I had the ability to go through the recording of the live session and send my questions to the instructor whenever i needed to."

The four webinars marked another important step towards an African Qualifier to the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup, scheduled for December 2020 in Mexico.

The idea of the webinars came after initial video conference calls between WBSC leadership and some of the countries where Baseball5 has been introduced with the most success: South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda. It had been anticipated on Twitter by Baseball Kenya President Titus Mutwiri

Africa will qualify two National Teams to the Baseball5 and Youth Baseball5 World Cups.

A total of 12 mixed-gender teams will feature at both the Baseball5 and the Youth Baseball5 World Cup. The number of players per team is eight, equally divided between men and women with five players -- with a minimum of two players per gender -- on the field at one time. Eligibility for the WBSC Youth Baseball5 World Cup 2020 is reserved for athletes born between 01 January 2002 and 31 December 2005.

So far only Europe has completed the qualification process for the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup (while all continents are still to play Youth Baseball5 World Cup qualifiers). France and Lithuania qualified through the inaugural European Championship this past February.

The breakdown by continent is as follows:

  • Africa: 2 teams
  • Americas: teams
  • Asia: teams
  • Europe: (2) France, Lithuania
  • Oceania: 1 team
  • Host Nation: (1) Mexico

The WBSC Youth Baseball5 World Cup will serve as a Qualifier for the 2022 Youth Olympics, to be staged in Dakar, Senegal. Baseball5, the new urban version of baseball/softball, was added to the YOG programme in January.