You can call it silent revolution ,you won’t be wrong in describing what the managers of snooker are doing with the game on the continent, although the promoters of the sport still have a lot of catch up to do if they want to wield the same influence their counterparts in Europe, Asia and America wield.
Certainly the sport is no longer where it used to be Africa with its historic entry into the African Games in Rabat 2019 as if that is not enough the African University Games which will be hosted in Kenya in 2022 will have snooker as one of the sports that will light up the games.
All these is driven by the vision to make the sport a continent wide games which could see the current association membership grow from 18 that it is now to the 54 countries on the continent. A mission which makes the El Kammah Mohammed led Africa Billiards and Snooker Confederation work cut out.
“We joined African Sports Confederations (AASC) about 8 years ago and we reached out to Morocco Olympic committee and we gave them 4 snooker tables to start an academy in Morocco, before going to the African Championship or the World championship they practised with top coaches we assigned to them in order to improve there standard and for them to win medals aside this we met the President of AASC and ANOCA and we attended the AGM were we made our bid and we were accepted into the African games and that was how Snooker became a sport at the African Games in 2019” El Kammah said.
Although few countries participated in the game in Rabat , EL Kammah explained why it was so “we had entries from Egypt, Morocco , Algeria ,Tunisia and South Africa but a lady sent a memo that snooker is not in the All Africa Games which created confusion and affected the entries in Rabat”.
Despite the miscommunication it was a ground breaking experience for the Confederation as there are plans to use the breakthrough at the biggest multi sports event in Africa to drive the popularity of the sports into more countries aside the current 18 member association.
“We have about 18 countries that are members of the confederation and we hope to have more before the next African Games to be hosted in Ghana in 2023, we hope to reach the 54 countries in Africa as we have a lot of snooker fans in all the 54 countries and like football we deserve to have 54 African countries as members “.
As Covid-19 affects sports calendar globally notwithstanding ABSC is poised to make the All African Snooker Championship a reality. The event which will feature Women, Men ,Seniors, Team Club and 6 red will be played in Casablanca, Morocco from 20th-30th May 2021.
El Kammah is optimistic that the event will hold as slated “the entries for the African championship is encouraging and we have sent message to Olympic committees in Africa to sensitize them about the tournament, each country is entitled to participate with 10 players in each tournament and with 4 teams in the clubs championship. Host country is entitled for double those entries”.
The President of ABSC did not forget to open up on his plan to see that some countries on the continent get the needed support to host Africa and World Championship if the need arise on e of the countries is Nigeria which he revealed that he already opened a line of discussion with someone who called him from the most populous black nation.
“Nigeria is important to us, we have receive an email from a young man in Nigeria who want us to establish an association in Nigeria ,he also wants to host our tournament in Nigeria and we support that, it is import we organise tournaments in the centre of Africa, so Nigeria is important , Kenya is important, Uganda is import, Senegal is important, because when you calculate the travelling expenses between these countries it is moderate,
I need to explore these countries , I need to know how many tables are in these countries , though I am aware there are clubs with snooker tables in these countries and for any country that wants to host , we can get them a discount from our partners for the equipment to be used. We give the tables for 40% discount to the host country this will make the budget for hosting the championship less. Of course such an event should be broadcast on a satellite channel because if you do that you will able to get sponsors through advertisers who want to promote their product and services
We will bring referees, we will bring our committee to manage the tournaments and give technical support.
I will love to see Nigeria host a world championship because it is a big country with potentials, if Nigeria shows interest in hosting our any championship we will love to support them guide them . I will want to meet with your ministry of sport and your Olympic committee if they communicate with us and definitely I will come to Nigeria, I will help them and guide them, we can start with an African tournament to learn the technical aspect of the sport then we can we do a world championship, we have a very good relationship with the World Billiards and Snooker association , the President is a very good friend of mine. so with us you can have a big tournament in Nigeria.
who knows one day we can have a snooker ranking tournament in Nigeria, Nigeria is a rich country and can do it “.
El Kammah makes sure that he is in touch with all the members association despite travel restriction , thanks to virtual meeting which avails members of the confederation to rub minds and chart way forward.
The confederation is also gender sensitive as it offers its yearly tour card to both male and female player who win the African Championship or the African games ; a gesture which helps in giving exposure to players on the continent and improving the quality of the game as they benchmark with top players in Europe, Asia and America.