The game of snooker has been playing non stop on Sundays ever since it was launched in August last year in Thandukukhanya, Mkhondo Local Municipality. The games began when regular pool players decided to open teams to compete against each other representing their sections using local hang out spots (Taverns, Pubs etc.) as venues. They had grown tired of gambling among each other as individuals.
Sbetha All Stars was the first organised team playing in taverns around the location and touring places like Pongola and eDumbe (Paulpietersburg) in KwaZulu Natal. The team eventually split and the many number of players left to start other teams like Russia from Magadeni, Phola Park Pool Masters and others. The teams host each other on a weekly basis using local taverns as venues which also boost the sales due to the number of fans who flock in to watch the games. The tavern owners provide the venue and cash in on the sales. Some tavern owners pay the affiliation fees for their host teams when they are hosting or even when playing away. Each host team chooses a tavern of their choice to play their games. The organisers of the snooker games recently launched Mkhondo Snooker Federation committee to look at the development of the game in Mkhondo Local Municipality, a year after they began playing.
The chairperson Bhekithemba Mbatha said they are doing this to develop the game, for entertainment and boosting local businesses with sales. “We were tired of playing gambling individually, so we decided to form teams. We are supporting the local businesses by bringing fans in big numbers. Every business gets a turn to host using a rotation system,” he said.
To some people they bring back old memories but to some it is a whole new experience to be found in the famous and infamous night spots of Thandukukhanya.
The snooker committee has done well the past year and have grown the number of teams to fourteen (14) playing every Sunday at different sections of Thandukukhanya, Mkhondo. A full match between teams is played by five (5) players per side i.e. 5 v 5. The winner is determined by the number of wins by each member of the team. A club must have a host venue to participate but is required to at least play for four consecutive weeks before they can be allowed to host the weekly tournaments. “A club must show commitment to the game first before they can host games. We cannot just give hosting rights to a team that plays when it feels like playing, we give hosting rights to serious teams,” said Mr Rooi Mndebele on of the organisers. The main challenge of the games which threatened its survival was the fighting whenever there was some sort of disagreement. The fights have decreased after the launching of the organising committee which introduced measures to curb the ill-discipline during the games.
The organisers though still need to find a way of making sure the games start on time. The fans attending the games end up sleeping late at night which leads to late coming at work. The positive is that long forgotten hang out spots are being remembered and put right back into business. To some people they bring back old memories but to some it is a whole new experience to be found in the famous and infamous night spots of Thandukukhanya. The teams include: Sbetha All Stars (Mkhari’s Tavern), Russia (Ntontweni Tavern), Mafred (T&N Liquor), Whitehouse (Royal House), Labies Tavern, Phola Park Pool Masters, Wenkie Tavern, Mseja (Ntumbane Tavern), Car Wash, Harmony Park, Rustplaas and others still to be included by the organisers.