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Pioneers catcher hopes softball grows in Limpopo

Softball enthusiast, Hendrick Swafo told BONUS that he is concerned that softball receives less attention than commonly loved and active sporting codes such as soccer, netball, rugby and tennis.

POLOKWANE – Softball enthusiast, Hendrick Swafo says he hopes the sport will gain more attention so that it can continue to grow in Limpopo.

The 21-year-old is the current catcher for the Mankweng Pioneers and has been since 2013. Swafo told BONUS that he is concerned that softball receives less attention than commonly loved and active sporting codes such as soccer, netball, rugby and tennis.

“I know it will take time for softball as a sporting code to be recognised and followed, but we need government entities such as the Department of Sport to push harder to give the sport the exposure it needs. I suggest the sport be broadcasted on television. Many people are not even aware of its activeness and that is where we need to start, by educating the community about the sport, starting with children at schools,” he added.

He says his role as catcher allows him to lead and control other players on the field, which he enjoys. Apart from playing for the Pioneers, Swafo is also the manager of the Mentz Spartans, a role he took on in 2018.

“I have always been active in sport, both at home and at school. Sport was and is still the one thing I look forward to engaging in, as it is not only good for my physical well-being, but also good for my emotional well-being.”

Swafo began playing softball in Gr 7, while attending Megoring Primary School and was eventually spotted by the founder of the Mentz Spartans softball team, Steve Rankapole who offered him an opportunity to play. “That is where my love for the sport grew,” he explained.

As with most sports, team work is essential and Swafo says benefits of playing a team sport include learning more about what it entails, putting in the work and playing their respective roles towards a set goal, which is to win games.

“We all have different personalities and must try by all means to accommodate as well as accept one another,” he added.

Swafo draws inspiration from Puerto Rican baseball player, Yadier Molina who plays Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals. In addition to his love for the game, Swafo is also studying towards an engineering fabrication qualification and says he loves the idea of making good quality products that will last and have a positive impact in people’s lives.

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