Two young Cape Town baseball players had their dreams come true when they were called to represent South Africa at the World Baseball and Softball Confederation World Cup which is held in Gijang City. Anovuyo Kethelo and Xabiso Mpofu are going to represent their country at the Under 18 team. This event is due from August 30th to September 8th. Due to baseball being a peripheral sport in the country, the South African government don’t fund players in this sport, and a lack of funding nearly cost them their dreams.
Lack of Funds
Both players needed R25 000 to get them at their destination. They both came from families without their transport and barely enough money to make a living. Anovuyo started playing baseball when he was 13 years old. The Khayelitsha born star is known for his dedication to the sport. Every practice session has been a struggle to get the money for transport and back. When the excellent opportunity to play internationally was given to him, the most significant concern was gathering the R30 000 for a ticket to get to Gijang City as well as some other essentials. His story was publicly shared, and he managed to secure the money to set forward on his dreams. A crowdfunding campaign was set up, and it reached the goal at the end of July.
Xabiso started his baseball career off in 2013 at Weltevreden Primary School which is based in Samora Machel. He recalls being upset during his younger playing years at his parents’ absence during his games. He states that he realizes now that it was their way to save on travel costs to help him in furthering his career. He hasn’t been able to collect all the funds yet to achieve his dream. This far he already missed two deadlines to pay the needed funds and the final period is due on 15 August. Currently, there are also requests to baseball fans internationally to make the much-needed donations to the campaign to get Xabiso to the World Cup.
Baseball in South Africa
Although baseball came to South Africa already before the First World War, it is still not a widely played sport in the country. Already in 1889 baseball was performed by the miners at Gold Fields as the American gold miners came to work on the gold mines. These miners from the Crown Mines established the Giants Baseball Club. Later on, in 1905, the Transvaal Baseball Association was formed, and one of their firsts clubs were with Wanderers. In 1955 Little Leagues took off in Johannesburg and this is still limited to mainly the schools in the Johannesburg and Gauteng areas. Currently, there are a limited number of baseball clubs in South Africa, primarily present in only two provinces. With two baseball heroes like these young men, the sport is bound to be promoted in South Africa and gain popularity.