National pool captain Alfred Gumikiriza, aka Black Sheep, has urged upcoming players to strictly observe discipline if they wish to excel in sports.
Ranked second overall, Gumikiriza held an exhibition game on Saturday at Evaska Gardens in Kirangira, Mukono District, as part of his bigger plans to make more youth appreciate the game he says has made him a national star.
“After surviving cancer [skin] last year, I have devised ways of giving back to the sport that defines me. One way is to make young people appreciate pool as a game that can make a difference in their lives. But to become an excellent athlete, discipline is key,” Gumikiriza said.
Gumikiriza, who now resides in Mukono after shifting from Seguku along Entebbe Road, says he has checked out several arenas and thinks the time is right for Mukono to get a team to the national league.
A league team normally has not less than eight players.
The Pool Association of Uganda (PAU) has two main league competitions; the Senior League and the Division One. All leagues have women’s sides.
Gumikiriza said by playing in organised competitions, young players can be ably groomed for the national team.
“No one can remain a star forever. We must always find avenues of introducing new players to the league such that when we are no longer the main figures of the sport, there is enough talent to feed the national team. Our next target is to find willing partners that can help us realise this dream,” he added.
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Gumikiriza offered to train two players that caught his eye at his home free of charge.
Eyes return to the big stage
With national competitions frozen, Gumikiriza has set sights on the continental competitions.
Having missed the Esther Lungu East & Southern Africa Pool Championships in Zambia last month – Uganda men won – he is training for the All Africa Pool Association tournament due in South Africa in October.
Owing to Covid-19 situation in South Africa and related travel restrictions, the tournament could be played in Zambia.
“Last time I was not in good shape but I hope to be available for selection,” he said.
The men’s team emerged winners but each of the 22 players travelled at their own cost. This is likely to be the case for the next invitational tournament as PAU lacks finances.