Pool royalty descends on Jinja

Ceasar Chandiga is the man to beat. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

What you need to know:

This weekend will offer Jinja fans their once-favourite player and help them appreciate the skills he has mastered over the years. His blooming relationship with Jinja was cut short with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. By that time, Chandiga was only second to his former teammate.

The royalty of Pool in Uganda descends to Paradise Spot in Jinja today with former Ronz Pool Club sensation Ceasar Chandiga the main attraction. Five years ago, in 2019, Chandiga arrived as a rookie still finding his feet on the table but left in 2020 as a polished player. 

His journey since then has been remarkable, from winning small money battles to becoming the best in the country and conquering the African continent. He is now on a gigantic mission to conquer the world.

This weekend will offer Jinja fans their once-favourite player and help them appreciate the skills he has mastered over the years. His blooming relationship with Jinja was cut short with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. By that time, Chandiga was only second to his former teammate.

The Scorpion, as his mates fondly call him, burst onto the scene in 2017 during the Nile Special Open in Gulu. Chandiga caught the eyes of Kampala-based topflight teams. His manager, Stephen Ojara suggested a short-term contract at CKI to expose him to new challenges.

“I told him to try a new environment because clearly, his mates were not in Gulu,” Ojara said.

Chandiga spent a few months at CKI before crossing the Nile to Ronz in Jinja in 2019. Ronz had just won the second division trophy in 2016, got promoted, and instantly won the topflight the following year in 2017. It didn’t take Chandiga long to prove his worth to Ronz manager and sponsor Hans Rugari.

Chandiga played a key role as Ronz completed a treble by winning the Clubs Knockout Cup competition in December, becoming the first and only club to achieve that in the country. 

His magical hand was seen in a hotly-contested quarterfinal, where he beat Mustapha Bwire in a decider after Ronz and Capital Night had tied 10-up. He was also crucial in dispatching Ntinda’s Rock Katalina 11-9 in the semis and Scrap Buyers 11-5 in the final to emerge as winners.

That remarkable performance in that tournament earned him a national call-up. His first assignment was a success as he guided Pool Cranes to a silver medal in the team event and a bronze medal for himself in the 2019 All Africa Pool Associations Championship in South Africa. 

The Pool Cranes were sponsored by Rugari, the Ronz manager. Since then, the 25-year-old has gone on to win thousands of dollars around the continent and was recently signed by the Chinese World Heyball to be their African ambassador as he takes part in their lucrative grand tours.

Before the pandemic threw everything in disarray, Chandiga had won the hearts of the Jinja fans when took on the toughest opponents in the league in 2020. By the time the league was suspended, Chandiga was competing with his teammates Gloriuos Ssenyonjo, Cyrus Mawejje and Eric Mugabo for the top scorer.

This week, he returns to Jinja to reunite with the trio who all qualified for the Kings and Queens finals. Ssenyonjo was the best in Masaka while Mugabo and Mawejje aka Spino qualified as the 1st and second from Jinja.

The field is littered with top talent. The 56 who qualified through the qualifiers will join the top eight seeds in the country. 

They include Chandiga, Mansoor Bwanika, Ibra Ssejjemba, Joseph Kasozi, Kenneth Odong, Lawrence Sengonge, Jonan Turigye and Azaali Lukomwa in that order. 

Bwanika and Ssejjemba are the two former champions who won it in 2021 and 2022. Chandiga arrives as the reigning National Pool Open champion but is looking for the only local trophy missing in his glittering cabinet.

“It’s good to be back in a place that I call home,” Chandiga, who arrived in Jinja early in the week, told Score.

“I got a chance through Ronz and want to give the fans who supported us something to smile about,” he added.

Battle of Queens

Chandiga is not the only star that was churned out of the defunct Ronz. Marion Kisakye commonly known as Sheilla Ankah has navigated herself from a local player to a national star. Currently ranked third in the country, the Iron Lady will want to settle some scores with sisters Rukia Naiga and Rasheeda Muteesi. 

Naiga is the national number one and reigning National Pool Open champ, while her sister Muteesi is the undisputed queen of the table, winning the last two editions of this competition. 

Kisakye will borrow her motivation from rookie Serena Ogumushabe who eliminated a record three-time champion and seed five Victoria Namuyanja. Kisakye’s Scrap Buyers teammate Ritah Nimusiima is the other seeded player who will enter the competitions.


The tournament that cues off at 9 am will follow the black ball rules. The men will race to seven from the round of 64 to the semifinals and then increase. 

The 32-lady tournament will race to six up to the semis as well. All players will be entitled to only one time-out of five minutes during a contest. 

In the event of a tie, and the ongoing frame has six or fewer object balls, the frame will be played to completion.

If there are seven balls and above, the players will go for penalties, with each taking five. A penalty has 30 seconds to execute, or a player forfeits the turn.

The winner in men’s category will take home Shs3m, a medal and a trophy while the first, second and third runners-up bag Shs1.5m, Shs750,000 and Shs400,000. The losing quarter finalists will get Shs150,000.

The winner of the ladies will win Shs2m while the first, second and third runners-up take Shs1m, Shs500,000 and Shs250,000, respectively. The quarterfinalists will earn Shs100,000 each.


Grand finale: June 21-22

Venue: Paradise Spot Pub, Jinja

Registration: Shs20,000 for men & Shs10,000 for ladies

Previous winners - Men 

2021 – Mansoor Bwanika

2022 – Ibra Ssejjemba


2022: Rashida Mutesi

2021: Rashida Mutesi

2017: Victoria Namuyanja

2016: Victoria Namuyanja

2015: Angela Busingye

2014: Victoria Namuyanja

2013: Carol Kanzira

2012: Jacinta Kajubi

2011: Jacinta Kajubi

2010: Brenda Tendo

2009: Winnie Tushabe