Coach looks to take softball to pro level

Moses Molaba had a sterling career as a softball player and wants to pass the baton to the next generation that will take the sport to new heights.

Moses Molaba has done it all in the field of softball, from playing to coaching and serving as an administrator.

His main concern now is the development of the game, from grassroots level.

He played at the Softball World Championships, coached the SA women’s team in the Olympic qualifiers, and represented three provinces with numerous accolades under his name.

Molaba, 42, is currently doing head coach duties for the Khayelitsha Eagles Men’s team and the Falcons Women’s team. His dream is to see the sport evolve from a minor sporting code to a professional level.

“I wish all provinces can follow the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport with their MOD programme. If it can be rolled out to all provinces we have a better chance to grow, not only softball but other codes because we will have coaches that understand and know the game, teaching the kids from school level. In turn that will feed into clubs which would help us a lot,”

The MOD (Mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth) programme is an after-school, mass participation programme that provides school-going youth with access to various fun-filled, play-based activities in recreation and sport, as well as in arts and culture.

Molaba believes in focusing more at school level for the promotion of the sport with accredited coaching courses like in football and softball coaches at schools to teach the fundamentals of the game.

“The federation (Softball South Africa) needs to be the drivers of this kind of projects as the custodian of the sport. We need to do more for the promotion and marketing of the sport,” he said.

“We must learn to have a grassroots league that will feed in development phases of softball which we don’t have in the country from under-13 to 18. Having those structures across the country will help a lot with the growth of this sport.”

To go with his coaching duties, Molaba is also a district coordinator for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.

He works with softball clubs around the province in a club development programme.

His career in softball started way before he ever thought he would move to Cape Town, in Seleteng village in Limpopo.

“My late brother Justice Molaba introduced me and taught me softball between the ages of 9 and 10 but I did not like softball as football was my favourite sport.

“But I started to love the sport because most of my friends joined softball, I started as a catcher then moved to a pitcher because while I was catching I learned a lot about pitching.

“I won my first trophy as best pitcher in the province at Tintis Dragons under-14 tournament while I was 13, and our team were crowned champions of that tournament and we were coached by former SA pitcher Bushy Mphahlele.”

He would later go to represent his province’s under-19 side in the National School’s Tournament and a year later started his international journey when he made the SA under-19 side that travelled to Canada for the Junior World Cup.

He describes his softball career as a fairytale, having represented his country both as a player and a coach.

“I played in three different provinces, Limpopo, Gauteng and Western Cape and won the league with all the clubs I played for.

“While at university I played for Tshwane University of Technology and I was also a head coach of both teams, men and women, and we won eight trophies before I left the university and then came to Cape Town to play for Devonshire Rovers Softball Club.”

Molaba wore the SA colours for 13 years and was part of the side that played in the Softball World Championships, now known as World Cup, which was hosted by South Africa in 2000. He also captained the SA side in the 2008/09 season.

Like many sporting codes that do not have professional leagues in the country, softballers have to dig deep in their own pockets to fund their overseas travels while representing the country.

“Paying money to go represent my country has been hard because that means if I didn’t have people helping me out I would have not had the opportunity to represent my country due to lack of funds.”

Molaba’s dedication and love for softball saw him also starting the Pitching and Catching Softball Academy with Andre Alexander and Nicole Alexander with the aim of closing the gap with other leading sporting codes.

“We train the pitchers and catchers because the game revolves around them in order for teams to stand a chance to win games.

“That is the legacy we want to leave in this game, having produced a talent that can go on to help the country be competitive on the international stage.”