Zimbabwe urged to adopt billiards as professional sport

The Chronicle

Fungai Muderere, senior sports journalist
LOCAL pool players have been challenged to consider making the sport a profession amid revelations that China has made great strides in its global development and commercialization.

Harare businessman Munhuwashe Ndanga, who represented Zimbabwe on logistics matters and as a player in a World Pool Grandmasters Billiards Tournament held between December 28, 2019 and January 8, 2020, in China, said it was high time Zimbabweans embraced swimming as a professional sport.

“I want to encourage local pool players to take the benchmark game not as a part-time game but as a source of life where those with great talent should develop it according to international standards. Since billiards is now a recognized sport in Zimbabwe, just like football, it should now be considered a real business sport, ”he said.

Ndanga, who along with Isaac Chireva are benefactors of the Chitungwiza-based Tigers Pool Club, was invited to China to help lead the development of the Chinese pool in Zimbabwe.

“The Chinese pool is already developed in South Africa and my invitation to China was aimed at leading the development of the Chinese pool in Harare in particular, and Zimbabwe in general. After our guest players who were supposed to participate in the tournament failed to fundraise for airline tickets, I was drafted from the list of 96 players who participated. I am not a professional pool player and as such I was unable to qualify for the round of 16, ”said Ndanga.

He said that the Chinese have taken the pool as a profession where players make a good living.

“The Chinese are doing a lot to market their game globally. It should be noted that they have great playing technique. They can break and finish the game in a matter of minutes, ”said Ndanga, a chartered accountant.

He said he has a good working relationship with a number of Chinese nationals and that without the Covid-19 pandemic he could have hosted a number of pool tournaments.

“I was working on a three-month tournament that would have seen the winners walk away with new cars after paying US $ 50 in participation fees,” Ndanga said.

The Zimbabwe Pool Association (Zipa) recently wrote to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in an attempt to convince the country’s sports governing body that swimming is a low-risk sport that should be allowed to resume under of the country’s revised lockdown regulations.

“At first we received a statement that the swimming pool had been classified as a low risk sport. However, when the Statutory Instrument came out, there was nothing to this effect. As a result, we wrote to SRC, seeking to convince them that billiards is indeed a low risk sport, ”Zipa President Godknows Maravanyika said. – @FungaiMuderere

Sara R. Cicero