Although Snooker is often linked with alcoholics, that notion is likely to change very soon as local events company, Earth Life Africa, will be hosting the first annual tournament at Paddock Conference Centre in Gaborone on October 31. The tournament which has attracted 32 finalists will see the winner pocket P50, 000 prize money.
“It is unfortunate that people have a wrong notion about the game of pool. Even if you don’t take alcohol you can still play it. Through this tournament, we’ve managed to attract a lot of people and change their way of thinking. This tournament is one of a kind and we intend to blow away pool table lovers to the fullest on the day. When we came up with this initiative, we wanted to do something which would get people talking in the end. So far we believe that we’ve managed to do that because we’ve reached out to a number of villages in our search for the pool table master in the country,” said event coordinator Marang Morolong.
In their search for the ‘master’ the tournament visited Lobatse, Kanye, Gabane, Palapye, Maun, Jwaneng, Francistown and Gaborone. “Since this is our first edition, we’ve not been able to reach out to many places but there is no doubt that we’ll extend to other villages. The game of snooker is bigger than many people think. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback to this date. There are so many people who are passionate about this game and they’ve long waited for a platform like this one,” Morolong added.
He pointed out that the tournament has attracted a number of people even from outside our borders. A South African and two Zimbabweans will be amongst 32 finalists who will battle it out for the big carrot in a fortnight. “We have done our best to make the tournament more appealing. On the day, we’ll also provide the finalists with golf shirts so that we can easily identify them. We’ve also paid each of the finalists P1, 000 so that they can travel here (Gaborone). We don’t want a situation whereby on the day we hear that one of the finalists is not present because of financial constraints,” he said.
One of the finalists, Simmy Kopong said that it was not easy to qualify for the final. “I qualified in Palapye but it was very tough because I came up against some of the finest players. I played four matches but I’m happy that I’ll be amongst the finalists,” said Kopong. The 25 year old is oozing with confidence that he can take home the crown. “I know that the final will be tougher but I’ll be prepared for whatever will be thrown to me. I’m training hard to prepare for the big day,” he said.
Kopong shared the same sentiments with Morolong that even non-alcoholics play the sport. “I know that the fact that snookers are mostly found in bars people link it with alcohol. I don’t drink nor smoke but I’m passionate about the sport. I’m grateful that there is a tournament of this nature which will give us an opportunity to test our skills,” Kopong added.
Entrance fee to the finale costs P250 per person with double selling at P450. The organizers pointed out that dinner will be served and provided with entertainment by jazz queen Nono. Tickets are already on sale at Liquorama outlets.