Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative
The Alvinston Aces pitching staff has been bolstered this season with the additions of some international talent.
Kunyalala Samuel, 25, and Pamidzani Madzulukwa, 23, have been in Alvinston for the past four weeks, having played four senior league games in the tournament and another four games in a tournament in Tavistock.
Both are members of the Botswana National Softball team and Madzulukwa said the opportunity to play in Canada gives them new challenges with stiffer competition and the ability to further hone their skills.
“They are very happy and eager to get better,” said Aces Manager Joe Triest.
The tournament in Tavistock opened their eyes to the level of competition they will face where they need to be to win, he said.
The pair has missed three tournaments this season due to not getting passport approvals on time.
There were many players from around the world at the tournament in Tavistock as senior teams had players on their rosters from Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.
The Botswanian players are able to play to Ontario without missing their softball season at home, which runs during our winter season.
Triest was in search of pitchers during the off-season. He had a player on the Aces squad during the 2018 season from the Botswana National Team, so he approached the team again.
He was shown a video from the Softball World Cup Qualifier played in Petrolia, South Africa in February and was impressed. South Africa defeated Botswana 4-3 and was given a berth in the Softball World Cup to be held in later this year in Auckland, New Zealand from Nov. 26 to Dec. 4.
Taking Botswana to the international championship is the ultimate goal said Madzulukwa.
It is one of the biggest championships in the world for softball and is played every two years.
Both Samuel and Madzulukwa have represented their country in the World Cup in 2019 but COVID-19 delayed the next championship in 2021, setting it up for 2022 in Auckland.
The two players have had high praise for many of the people in Alvinston.
Doug Waller of Lambton Meat Products heard they liked oxtails and was able to hook them up.
One Alvinston resident stopped by where they are staying to give them $20 so they could buy a pizza.
There have also been donations given which allowed the team to pay for their travel expenses in getting them to Canada in the first place.
Above all, the players are here to get better so they can take their talents and represent their home country at the highest level of international competition, while contributing to the Alvinston Aces.
There are enjoying it as well as Madzulukwa has even said on his Whatsapp account, “Dreams do come true.”