South Africa-based Zimbabwe baseball national team coach Americo Juma has bemoaned the lack of exposure which he says is contributing to the under development of the sport in the country.
Juma, who is currently running the Baseball Five project in South Africa, said the sport has been thriving in the background but has not received the much-needed exposure and support.
“We are lacking behind as a country because we don’t have enough support from the corporate world and the sponsors.
“Our sport also lacks exposure hence people might feel that there is nothing going on whereas a lot has been happening in the background.”
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each, taking turns batting and fielding.
The game is in play when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball that a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat.
The objective of the offensive team (batting team) is to hit the ball into the field of play, away from the other team’s players, allowing its players to run the bases, having them advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called “runs”.
Juma has risen through the ranks of baseball in the country. He played for the under 13 up to the senior national team.
He is the first player and coach to be contracted with the Major League Baseball (MLB) as a youth talent developer and also as a scout.
Juma said he is trying to use the experience he is getting in South Africa to help the sport in the country and also trying to develop from grassroots, adding that an Under 16 Tournament has been lined up in Zimbabwe.
“I asked the organisation to revive baseball in Zimbabwe. So, the first thing that we did, as the best thing that we want for Zimbabwe is to start coach education whereby I invited two guys to attend the MLB coaching conference and elite camps.
“So, from there we started a team which took part at the Olympic qualifiers in 2019. It was a very good start we didn’t start with the grassroots, but we are now making progress.”