The first-ever snooker final will be held this Saturday at Paddock Conference Centre in Gaborone. The tournament, which has attracted 32 finalists, will see the winner walking away P50,000 richer.
The second prize is P16,000 and the player who finishes third will pocket P10,000. The competition is organised by an events company, Earth Life Africa. The tournament organiser, Marang Morolong, said they are excited about the finale and the stage is set for the day. He said all the finalists have been paid P1,000 each for reaching the finals. He said the money was an allowance to assist them cover travelling expences.
Morolong said they intend to revise the gap between the champion and runners-up prize money in the second instalment of the competition as the gap is too wide. He said the finalists are fired up and the target is the P50,000. He said the prize is one of the highest in any individual competition in the country. Morolong said the qualifying games have been held in Lobatse, Kanye, Gabane, Palapye, Maun, Jwaneng, Francistown and Gaborone. He said around 150 players from different places battled it out for a spot in the final.
“Only the best snooker players have made it to the final. We have even attracted a player from South Africa, Ishmael Mtethwa. We expect him to give the locals the much needed experience because he has participated in the World Snooker championship that was held in Scotland this year. The two other finalists are from Zimbabwe,” he said.
Morolong said it was unfortunate that women did not participate in the tournament. He said they intend to come up with a plan to attract women to be part of the competition next year. Morolong said getting local companies to support the competition was difficult since the competition was new. He said they expected the reaction to be different next year because they would be aware of the nitty-gritty’s of organising a tournament. He said they are in the process of registering a snooker association as a way of turning the sport professional.
“We cannot be taken seriously if we do not do things in a professional manner. We have to put our house in order for us to grow and one day we can even get a grant from Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) as an affiliate. We can even have a snooker league across the country,” said Morolong.
Meanwhile, Morolong said they are selling tickets for the grand finale at P250 and entertainment will be provided by artists signed under Earth Life Africa management.