Well, it is happy ending to a Sad Story.
For those who know me, I play pool with the same zeal as I code.
So, after qualifying to join the top-8 to play for Kenya, I trained for 4 months non-stop, sharpening my skills and winning a few informal tournaments on the way.
I was in a good state and mood to go play for my beloved country.
The tournament was being held in BlackPool London. So, armed with all the UKBA list of demands from all Africans wanting to visit their freezer country aka ‘majuu’ to the self-loathing nitwits, we went to upper-hill and applied for 6-month Visas. we presented:
- Passports, Photographs.
- Bank statements dating 6 months.
- KSHS 11, 900 application fee.
- Sponsorship letters for those who had sponsors.
- Letters for each player from the Sports Commission stating that we are representing Kenya and that the sports ministry would pay for all our costs while in the UK.
Despite all the above, the UKBA (UK Visa people) denied 3 of the Kenya National Pool team Visa to go represent Kenya in the UK. Among the 3 was JC – Kenya Seed 1, Ben, Kenya seed 3, and yours truly. Unseeded. Of course, we got the response on the 19th, 4 days before the departure date, so the appeal time was minimal. Again, an appeal means re-application and paying of the KSHS 11, 900 over and over per appeal.
So, only 6 went and Kenya was, subsequently, not allowed to play the lucrative group tournament. They only played individual tournaments. Half-hearted and unsure whether the rest of the team would join them, my team-mates were forced to fill in the void of 3 players by using ‘Other Africans’ to make 9. We lost.
But we lost in style, and our skills and game strategies did not go un-noticed. The ‘UK Lions’, as the UK National pool team is called, requested to play a Game against the FULL Kenya team in October. The Lions are the BEST 8-ball pool team in the world. They are always hungry for a challenge. And after wiping the floor with the entire world in the World championships, they demanded we set a date and play a game.
We cannot get Visas, and so the have offered to COME to KENYA to play us. For the spirit of the game.
Ofcourse, we will be seeking sponsorship to play a one-month tournament in September to re-select the top 9 who will play the Lions to represent Kenya.
It is sad, that even with all the documents the Visa people ask for, it takes 2 weeks to get a response and the response is not based on Merit. It is totally discretionary.
I will not go through the whole ‘wanatuona kama uchafu tukienda kwao but tunawa-treat kama mungu wakija huku’, but the gesture shown by the Lions is a good one.
More on this soon, on an internet near you.
Back to code!