Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO Pool Association (BPA) believes it has assembled a strong team that will return with medals from the Carling Black Label National Pool Finals set for Saturday in Mutare.
Top female pool players Christine Sengwe and Priscilla Chisoro, who are no strangers to the annual national finals, will represent the province alongside Stephen Paswani, Mpumelelo Moyo and Kelvin Manyaye, who were the top three male players in the city last month.
BPA vice-chairman Donald Wadawu believes the five players, who beat 96 contestants in the provincial qualifiers, are going to do well at the national competition.
“This is one of the strongest teams we have managed to come up with. We really need the ultimate prize and I believe this is the time to return home smiling,” said Wadawu.
Last year, Harare-based mechanic Blessing Chatoma was crowned the Carling Black Label National Pool champion after defeating 2015 winner Tendai Mubaiwa by two frames to nil in the men’s final held at The Barn in Gweru.
In the women’s section, Charity Ncube of Kadoma took the honours by defeating Patience Pasipamire 2-0 in the deciding match.
Chatoma and Ncube each walked away with cash prizes of $1 000, cue sticks and a case of Carling Black Label.
Mubaiwa and Pasipamire walked away with $600 apiece accompanied by cue sticks and a case of Carling Black Label.
Delta Corporation marketing manager Patricia Murambinda was excited by the increase in participants at this year’s provincial qualifiers.
“CBL National Pool Championship has so far been the largest pool tournament. Slightly over 2 150 players have participated in the regional competitions this year, an increase of about 150 compared to last year. The last national finals tournament was held in Gweru. Sixty-four men and 32 women will participate in this year’s final. New records should be set as the finalists have been drawn from across the country during the regional competitions. What is key was the expansion of the regional competition areas from 20 to 24 this year in an effort to bring the game of pool closer to the people,” said Murambinda.