Today we feature the second in a series of pre-event stories ahead of South Africa’s campaign at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia.
South Africa will be represented in nine different sporting codes. MARK ETHERIDGE looks at our cue sport contingent which has something of a chalk and cheese flavour.
Team South Africa will have the perfect blend of old and new in the cue sports division at the World Games in Cali, Colombia later this month.
In Peter Francisco they have a player whose list of of achievements would fill all six pockets of any given snooker table to overflowing.
The 51-year-old Somerset West ace is without a doubt one of the continent’s greatest players in the modern history of the game in the modern day game in South Africa and has a record seven SA snooker titles under his belt (from 1980 to present) and a record 13 SA billiard titles during the same period.
At the other end of the scale is young Nicola Rossouw, the Johannesburg resident is just three years into her 9ball career.
Team manager Ishaun Singh, who was also in Taiwan for the 2009 World Games, tells Road to Rio 2016: “Peter has just got back from Morocco after the successful defence of his All Africa snooker title. Irrespective of who his opponents are he’ll most certainly be a favourite.”
Francisco beat Libya’s Khalid Belaied 6-1 to take his second All-Africa title.
“Nicola is ranked 54th in the world which will statistically make her the weakest player in the tournament. Cue sport has many disciplines and when it comes to blackball, Nicola is second to nobody in Africa and has been ranked in the top five in the world for many years now. But it’s only three years since she moved to 9ball, so we’re still expecting great things from her. She’s busy trying to make her name in the 9ball world which is a lot more lucrative than blackball.”
Both Francisco and Rossouw will have 15 opponents in their respective categories in Cali.
On being part of Team SA Francisco says: “The World Games is like an Olympics for us and for a sportsman it’s extremely prestigious, especially as it only comes around every four years. Cue sports has only recently been added to the Games. It’s been a battle to get in so we need to impress.
“These will be my first Games and there are eight amateurs and eight top professionals so competition is going to be intense with a world class field.”
A professional between the years of 1984-1995, Francisco is now a total amateur and is also the President of Coaching Snooker in Africa. “I also do events coordinating as well as manufacture garden benches in any spare time I get. I train around three to four hours a day for five days a week and exercise about five days a week around event time, one needs to be in shape to compete with the youngsters,” he grinned.
During his heyday Francisco was ranked as high as 10th in the world in the 1988-89 season.Since his return to the South African game he has been selected a total of 12 times to represent the country, competing in several World Snooker Championships and also competed at the 2003 World Billiards championships, where he narrowly lost to defending World champion Geet Sethi.
He’s also the only South African player to have put together 14 maximum 147 breaks.
As for Rossouw: “I’m the current South African┬áladies┬áBlack ball, 9ball, and 10 ball┬á champion. I started┬ácue sports┬áat the age of nine and┬áI played for about two years and then basically fell off the wagon and did not┬áparticipate in cue sport┬áfor 11 years after that but started playing again in 2004 till currently.
“Ishaun introduced me to 9ball in 2009 and he told me┬áhe thinks I could compete against the overseas girls. And I watched them play on TV
“Ever since my first tour last year┬áMarch, which was the Amway Womens in Taipei, I’m enjoying 9 ball more. I’ve┬ábeen to more than 10 international tournaments so far and seeing these girls playing makes me realise who I want to become in this game.”