For the second year, Major League Baseball International (MLBI) will hold an African Elite Camp in Cape Town, South Africa from December 5-14th for 36 of Africa’s top young baseball players. Fifteen coaches from the participating nations – Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda – are also on hand to learn from the experienced MLB staff. Majestic continues their sponsorship of MLBI game development programs with a financial contribution to the African Elite Camp.
For the first time, a South African Coaches Conference will be held in conjunction with the Elite Camp. MLB staff will run clinics for 35 aspiring baseball coaches from South Africa to improve their knowledge of the game. In addition, a baseball clinic will be held in the township of Phillipi for 60 promising young baseball players from a disadvantaged area.
The camp is taking place at the Athlone A’s Baseball Club, home to one of the South African Baseball Union’s Intensive Training Centres, which serves over 400 players. The indoor facility at the complex, which features batting cages, pitching mounds and a workout facility, was made possible through a $200,000 Baseball Tomorrow Fund grant awarded in 2010. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association designed to promote and enhance the growth of baseball throughout the world by funding programs, field improvements and equipment purchases to encourage and maintain youth participation in baseball and softball
Rick Magnante, manager of the Vermont Lake Monsters in the Oakland A’s system, is the lead instructor at the African Elite Camp. He has managed in the minor leagues for ten years, and also was the manager of the South African National Team in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics. Additional instructors include former Major Leaguers Homer Bush, Craig Lefferts and Gerald Perry; Mike Randall, who was part of Magnante’s coaching staff during the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic tournaments; Jeff Krushell and Bill Holmberg.