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MBABANE – There will be no action in the MRPA/Dixie’s International Pool League this Sunday to give way to the senior men and ladies national teams’ preparations.

The national teams are billed to compete in the Africa Blackball Championships in Zambia towards the end of March. Eswatini has not had any international participation since the 2008 World Blackball Championships and Africa Blackball Championships that the country hosted in Ezulwini at the defunct Royal Swazi Spa’s Convention Centre. MRPA denotes Manzini Regional Pool Association. Their fixtures for the Dixie’s International Pool League this weekend indicate games will all be played on Saturday. “All our games start at 2pm and as we are all aware that the national teams will be starting their preparations this weekend but on Sunday,” MRPA Secretary Musa Dlamini explained yesterday.

His assertion was also supported by the Eswatini Cue Sports Association (ECSA) President, Muntu Dlamini. “We have organised national team practice for the weekend. Both men and ladies will be at it with their coaches Flag and Dodge, who can be in a better position to share their programme,” Dlamini said. He added that they were proud of the ladies squad captain Nqobile Dlamini and grateful to their South African counterparts who invited her to a ladies tournament in Soweto over the past weekend. “Despite losing her game and getting knocked out last Saturday, she was then taken through so much practice with stronger players and further had an extra friendly match set up for her so it was good exposure for her,” Dlamini said.
The squads’ head coach, Flag Nxumalo, who is assisted by Sithembiso ‘Dodge’ Matsebula, also affirmed the aforementioned.

“Our first training is on Sunday starting at 1pm until 4pm at the Matsapha Police Academy. The first thing on our programme is taking the players through the code of conduct for national team level and also how to improve the game to high performance then the rest will follow,” Nxumalo said. Players’ behaviour has been one of the recent shortcomings in the game, especially in the MRPA which, however, has also observed the latest ill-discipline by players and officials and plans to act to stop it.

Meanwhile, the Dixie’s International League fixture for Saturday sees wounded Way Inn face off with tricky Figaredo, the team Nqobile plays for at club level. The pick of the fixtures though is the clash between second edition champions Manzini Pool Club (MPC) and last season’s runners-up Correctional Services at Manzini Pool Club while defending champions Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) Pool Club have a tricky one against Bhunya.

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