Before his departure, Caesar Chandiga, the most in-form player, who was appointed the sole representative of Uganda at the 11th edition of the World Heyball Masters in Qinhuangdao, China, vowed to make Uganda proud. The grand finals will take place from March 28 to April 5.
An invitation was extended to countries that played in the 2022 All Africa Pool Association (AAPA) tournament in Zambia or the Blackball World Championships in Morocco.
Chandiga as Uganda’s best player in the AAPA tournament in Chinese 8-ball, which has since been renamed Heyball.
Chandiga was invited by the organisers alongside Pool Association of Uganda chairman Bob Trubish who delegated Ismail Kalibbala, the Technical Director. Uganda’s Pool King Ibrahim Sejjemba, is the third representative but he travelled independently to the tournament.
He is a man on fire having avenged a loss to Africa’s top see Joseph Aden with a similar 21-20 win over the South African in Nairobi, Kenya to win the total stake of $4,000 (Shs15m).
“I will do my best in China. I am in good form and I hope to make Ugandans smile,” Chandiga said before his departure.
It is obviously a tall order.
The Heyball Masters is the most lucrative cue sports event in the world with a total cash prize of $1.5m and boasts of a monstrous cash prize of $730,000 (Shs2.6b) for the winner, which attracts top players to the tournament.
“You expect the best at such a tournament but it also motivates you to work real hard,” Chandiga said.
But the format of play is also treacherous. There will be qualifiers for international players from March 21-27 where a minimum bonus of $3,000 (Shs10m) awaits. 20 winners will join the 64-man grand final consisting 32 Chinese players and 12 international star players.
These will be uncharted waters for the Ugandans but the seal to shine may be a huge motivation for the pair.