Attempt at restoring Snooker and Pool game to its glory years is receiving a boost with the formation of the Snooker and Pool Players Alliance, a network for Snooker and Pool Players aimed at promoting and protecting the welfare of players.
The popularity of Snooker and Pool in Nigeria has received a nose dive in the last two decades despite the successes of the 70’s through the 90’s when Nigerian youths embraced the sports especially the 8 ball Pool that was played at most street corners in urban centers in the West, East and North while Snooker was a very popular section in most exclusive sports clubs.
The Alliance has adopted the Cue Sports Management and Players Ranking System, an integrated IT based system which recognizes all the version of Cue sports, 8 Ball, 9 Ball, Black Ball and Snooker can monitor the performance of players and rank them on a scale of 1000 – 10,000 ranking points. The system also classifies players into 7 groups of proficiencies with the highest being masters for players with above 10,000 points for each sport.
The vision of the Alliance is to professionalize the sports and have at least one Nigerian player become a top professional player in Africa and internationally in the next 5 years says Mr Idada Joachim, SPPA Convener and Managing Director, FIJI Ventures Limited.
The 70’s saw the formation of the now defunct Billiard and Snooker Association of Nigeria that restricted its activities to the organization of a couple of major Snooker events within the local club like Lagos Country Club as the sport was considered elitist.
Unlike Snooker, Pool being a grassroot and more street based game attracted players within the local higher educational institutions, Pub and bars who organized regular competitions to attract patronage.
In an attempt at addressing the lack of structure in these sports, the Cue Sports Association of Nigeria (CSAN) was registered as an organizational platform for the Sports in 2009.
As guest of the week on Cuesports, a popular TV program on Cue Sports, Scott Ighene CSAN current president and renowned Pool promoter addressed the need for proper structure for the sports. He said;
“People tend to say build a proper structure and then money will come. But, I have been trying to make Pool a sports for upwards of ten years. And, Nigeria is a peculiar society; the structure been there is good but putting that in place needs money”