CONFUSION is threatening to engulf this yeara��s edition of the Carling Black Label (CBL) Black Ball National Finals amidst reports that organisers are yet to agree on a venue for the finals with less than a week before the event.
The CBL finals are the premier pool event of the year and are traditionally held at the end of July each year but this yeara��s finals hang in the balance as the organisers are still locked in frantic efforts to secure a venue for the finals which are scheduled for next Saturday.
Originally the finals were set to be held in Masvingo but the sponsors have moved them tentatively to Zvishavane.
Speaking to this publication, National Pool Association boss Trust Chifadza said his association is yet to finalise on the venue, Zvishavane.
a�?We are still negotiating with the sponsor Delta on the venue of the finals. We feel that Zvishavane is not capacitated enough to cater for such an event. It will pose a lot of logistical challenges to us as organisers to host more than a hundred players and officials coming for the tournament,a�? said Chifadza.
He said he was optimistic a breakthrough would be made before the middle of the week as the last provincial qualifiers were set to be rounded up this weekend.
a�?We remain optimistic that a venue will be secured before mid-week to allow us to communicate it to the respective provinces. So far only Bulawayo and Masvingo are yet to hold their qualifiers and we have set this weekend 17-18 October for them to finish off their qualifiers so that we go into the finals,a�? he added.
The Masvingo finals were scheduled for last weekend but had to be cancelled following a clash of venues with examinations taking place at Victoria Hall.
However, Bulawayo Pool Association secretary general Raphael Mukucha professed ignorance over the weekend qualifiers saying that his association had not been informed of the scheduled games.
a�?Currently as an association, we dona��t have any formal communication, we are going on with our games as per the league fixtures pending formal communication from the national association,a�? said Mukucha.
BPA spokesperson Donald weighed in on Mukuchaa��s assertions and said that it would be impossible to hold the qualifiers on the weekend given that some of the boxes containing entries by the public to the finals were still scattered at various participating outlets and had not been collected by the sponsor a�� a sign that they were not yet ready for the provincial qualifiers.
There has been a widespread outcry from various pool associations that this yeara��s CBL preparations have been shoddily handled. Beitbridge Pool Association reported that they were given 24 hoursa�� notice to attend the qualifiers in Gwanda, a move which saw them field only 15 of the 25 expected players for the qualifiers.
This yeara��s tournament format has changed a little from previous editions. Whereas in the past the tournament attendance was restricted to registered players but this year the tournament will involve even imbibers of the Black Label brand as sponsors move to market the product.
In addition to this, the tournament format will move away from the traditional best of three frames to a one frame knock out format.
Prizes have also been improved with the best player this year set to walk away with a branded pool table from the sponsor. There will monetary prizes for position one to five. This will be in addition to branded t-shirts, caps and cue sticks and of courseA� cases of the sponsoring brand.