Farai Nyandoro

Easter pool festivals

Fungai Muderere
SINK the black ball and take the moooolaa home!

Fireworks are expected in this year’s edition of the Bulawayo Pool Association (BPA) teams Easter tournament with $400 plus a shield up for grabs in a contest that will see 48 clubs both in the association’s Premier and Division One leagues take part.

“The two-day tournament which will be played on Good Friday and Easter Sunday has a first prize of $400 and a shield. The club that will come second will get $275 while $175 will be the prize money for the club that will be third best,” said BPA publicity secretary Farai Nyandoro  (ABOVE).

He said teams between position four and six would go home with $75, $50 and $35 respectively.

Those that will finish the tournament on number seven to 12 will each get a single crate of beer. The association’s secretary-general, Nkosi Datsha said on Good Friday the pool Easter fiesta weekend would be played at 12 venues that include The Lounge, Southwold, Egodini, Ace, Bambi Lounge, Dawn, Msindo, CSC Complex, Metropolis, Happy Valley, Skittle Inn and Shumba Bar.

“Soon after the first day’s action, clubs will be told which six venues are going to be used on Easter Sunday as we look forward to an exciting Easter weekend. We want to encourage clubs to go to the venues to enjoy pool in true sportsmanship,” said Datsha.

He added that each participating club would pay $25 for registration and clubs could register more than one team. A total of seven frames will be played, that is, two doubles and five singles.

Meanwhile, over 10 teams are expected to battle it out for the inaugural GVZ Hwange district pool tournament on Easter Saturday.

This comes as a relief to communities around the coal mining town who have been starved of sporting entertainment.

The teams will be drawn from Hwange urban, Victoria Falls, Dete and villages around the coal mining area.  All the games are to be played at Hwange’s popular leisure spot, GVZ. The game of pool in the district was fast becoming pastime activity but tournament organisers said they saw an opportunity to tap into the sport’s rising popularity to start a competitive league.

Tournament spokesperson, Fikile Maligo said for some time they played pool for the purpose of socialising in pubs but the game’s popularity had forced participants to push for it to be recognised as one of the competitive sporting activities in the district.

“Pool has gained popularity throughout the district even in rural areas there are people that are participating in the game. It would not be a surprise if this tournament is lifted by a village team because there is plenty of untapped talent there,” he said.

However, Maligo was quick to point out that they also anticipate intense rivalry between teams from Hwange urban and those from Victoria Falls. The resort town has a number of professional players that represent Matabeleland North at the coveted Carling Black Label national pool contest.

The duo of Batsirai Chikonyera and Wellington Chiweshe from Hwange are some of the players expected to be the toast of the day.

“We are excited with the response we have had. Quite a number of professional players will take part. More are likely to register as the week progresses. Registration closes on Friday,” said Maligo.

GVZ Leisure owner Kenneth Chiwanza said the holding of the pool tourney was part of the outlet’s effort to increase its recreational activities by supporting the growth of sport in Hwange district.

“GVZ is one of the liveliest sports and leisure centres in Matabeleland North and it is prudent for us to ensure it keeps that status through constantly increasing sporting and recreational activities.

“It is a win-win situation whereby both business and sport achieve a lot more in this partnership. Players will be awarded and they are to get the exposure that they have been crying for. We are bringing the game of pool here because we want to support budding talent, especially those players in rural areas. We might unearth a gem that might play for the country,” said Chiwanza.

He said the prize money would be announced before the commencement of the tournament on Easter Saturday.

“We are going to handsomely award the winner and the first and second runners-up. There will be plenty of individual awards as well,” he said.