Windhoek -The Kingdom of Eswatini has resumed its Pool League games under strict COVID-19 regulations and conditions, the chair of the Manzini Regional Pool Association, Muntu Dlamini, has said.
Dlamini told The Southern Times Sportlast week that games would be held in Manzini only as it was presently the only region that met health regulations for resumption of competition.
Other SADC member states such as Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa are yet to resume pool leagues.
“Manzini region is very fortunate that its venues are alcohol-free and thus it’s able to continue with the games since the venues meet COVID-19 requirements. Most venues in other regions are located in bars, and unfortunately bars are closed and remain closed due to the pandemic,” Dlamini said.
He said the federation was still scouting alcohol-free venues in Lubombo Region. At present, one venue in Lubombo looks promising whole another is being made fit for purpose.
Among guidelines for resumption of professional pool tournaments are use of face masks; frequent sanitisation of hands and equipment; no sharing of equipment unless absolutely unavoidable and only if sanitsation is done at every exchange; no handshakes at any point; and observance of social distancing of at least 1,5m between participants.
“Match commissioners have been warned to adhere to the set regulations. Pool tables and match balls are sanitised before games. If clubs do not meet or obey the regulations at the venues, the venue will be banned and we are strict on that. So far we have managed to ensure all players and officials appreciate the importance of adhering to the rules for their safety and that of the nation at large,” Dlamini said.
However, the number of league games has fallen as some players and officials stay away from the sport, and also because of a decline in sponsorship during COVID-19.
Dlamini added, “Even the numbers of league games have gone down which has affected the standard of the game as well as the performance of players. This is mainly attributed to the fact that Pool is a game that needs continuous practice since it requires accuracy and precision. Players require a high degree of skill, concentration, and tactical thinking to play the game at a high level.
“We hope the level of the game will improve with time as the pandemic improves. As a newly-appointed board, we hope to select a national team that will represent Eswantini.”
Manzini Regional Pool Association is relatively new as it was recently recognized officially by the Ministry of Sport this year. The association is in the process of affiliating to international bodies like the All-Africa Pool Association and is he Africa Billiards and Snooker Confederation, where it has already secured provisional membership in both.