Pool Association of Uganda (PAU) National Team Technical committee have released the 18-man and woman contingent of the Pool Cranes players heading to Lusaka-Zambia to represent the country at the All Africa Blackball championship slated for the 3rd – 6th March 2022.
According to the national team head coach, Nathan Bwankosya, the team has been through several training sessions over the past month since the relaxation of the COVID 19 restrictions.
He further added that every player on the team was shortlisted on merit and the trainings they have conducted.
“We have been through several training sessions over the past period since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
There a different qualities followed in selection and every player on the squad is chosen on merit”.
The continental showpiece will feature teams from Zambia who are the hosts, Tanzania, Eswatini, Morocco, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
With just 3 weeks away from the event, the PAU is short of the planned funds for Air travel tickets and the upkeep of players and officials. The Association is now opting for a toned down budget of up to UGX. 50 million so that the team can participate in the upcoming games.
“We aim to reclaim the men’s accolade and also defend the ladies African title, but our target is currently hampered with inadequate funds to do sufficient preparation as well as organise travel for our players and officials.” Bob Trubish Chairman of P.A.U
Having reached out to National Council of Sports (NCS) earlier enough and shared our budget, there hasn’t been any coins coming to support the team despite their promise.
However, NCS has of recent responded decrying the lack of funds from government. With the little time left for the Pool Cranes, PAU has to reaching out to corporate sponsors like Nile Breweries Limited, ABABet and fundraising platform from club leaders, members and well wishers from the public.
This will be Pool Cranes’ 7th appearance at the pinnacle continental championship having had their debut in 2014 edition held in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania.
I the 2014 edition, Pool Cranes, finished 4th in the men’s category behind eventual winners South Africa, and Zambia and Tanzania who ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively while the ladies came 2nd .
Team Uganda came to be known for Dressing formally and fielding a big team in the history of AAPA annual championship. They also “arguably” have the strongest ladies side in the event today.
After finishing 4th in 2014, the men’s side staged a better ranking performance to finish 2nd at the 2015 championship in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho before they won the event in 2016 on home soil, something they’ve not repeated to date.
The ladies have never performed worse than second, and have won the team event on 2 occasions in 2016 and 2019 in Kampala and South Africa respectively.
However, both men and women have never won the individual category of the event. One man- Geoffrey Settumba came closest after coming second behind Westi Morake in 2016 at the 13th edition held at Lugogo Indoor Stadium in Kampala, Uganda.
Three (3) ladies have been losing finalists too. Ritah Nimusiima lost the final in Zimbabwe in 2017 and became the first female Uganda to appear in the final.
Vicky Namuyanja and Rukia Naiga lost the black ball and Chinese eight ball categories to Nicola Roseau in 2019 at Panda’s Cue Sport Academy in Secunda, South Africa.
Full list of the squad
Bwanika Mansoor, Ssejemba Ibra, Ssebujuzi Habib, Chandiga Caeser, Lukomwa Azali, Kayanja Ibrahim, Kasozi Joseph, Ssenyonjo Glorious, Lubuulwa Simon, Ssetumba Geoffrey, Sembusi Yudah, Murungi Ivan
Mutesi Rashida, Naiga Rukia, Nimusiima Ritah, Namuyanja Victoria, Nabafu Zaimati, Nganda Amina Faith, Ayebazibwe Immaculate