HISTORY OF AFRICAN BILLIARDS
African billiards was developed from an indigenous game of marble seeds derived from some leguminous plants that permeate many parts of West Africa from the bush –fallowing system .It is called “ Erin ” in Ayegbaju-Ekiti,Oye-Ekiti Local Government area of Ekiti State , where the game was being played on bare ground. In standard Yoruba it is called “ Aarin ” and it is also called “ Ege /Ise “ and In Benin City,Edo State and Urhobo speaking part of Delta State in Nigeria, it is called “ Akwe ”.Infact it is said to be one of the coronation rites of the Oba of Benin.It is over 1000 years old.
AFRICAN BILLIARDS BOARD DESIGNED BY ELIAS YUSUF (1988).
It has now being modernized and played on a well designed board of 122cm x 488cm and, it is now called African Billiards with well calibrated playing surface to ensure equity and beauty. It is one of the most popular seed games in Nigeria . It was demonstrated at the 1 st Oba of Benin Traditional Sports Open championship 2001, It was billed to be at the 4 th world festival of Traditional Sports, Montreal Canada in 2004 through Sports For All Nigeria (SFAN).It was also billed to be at the 1 st African Festival of Traditional Spots in Lagos Nigeria, early 2004.The African Billiards board was designed by Mallam Elias Yusuf in 1988 at Ajumoni Secondary School, Mushin Lagos, Nigeria. He learnt how to play the game as a kid in his native town-Ayegbaju-Ekiti,where playing Aarin was a passion.
THE NAME AFRICAN BILLIARDS
The game African Billiards has a lot of similarities with the western world billiards. The place of cue in the western billiards has being taken up by the bullet seeds
AFRICAN BILLIARDS TARGET AND BULLET SEEDS
It has target seeds and there is propelling of bullet seeds to knock off/down the target seeds to a collection box. So the name “African Billiards” gives uniqueness to the game as Africa ‘s contribution to the world of sports.
COMPETITIVE METHODOLOGY OF AFRICAN BILLIARDS
African Billiards was introduced to the Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria by Mallam Elias Yusuf with a modernized and acceptable surface area of play. Unlike before, the game is no more played on the ground, but on a well designed board. It has the same style of play, with the old style/method of play. However one of the major differences between the old and the new style is that the number of target seeds varies in the old system. Sometime target seeds may be 5,10,15,20 or more. While in the new style the target seeds are seven. Seven marble seeds are referred to as target seeds. There are four (4) other seeds that are known as bullet seeds. They are for spinning and used as cues to knock off /down the target seeds.
Players play in turns. After a player or a team has shot all the four (4) bullet seeds, the opponent or the second team shoots the same four (4) seeds back.
CURRENT SYSTEM OF OPERATION
PLAY AREA OF THE GAME
African Billiards is played both in-door and out-door. The choice of play area depends on the organizers, the weather condition and the number of players that register for the competition. The game is played on a well designed board of 488cm/16ft x 122/4ft.The collection box that is used in the collection of seeds is 122cm long, 25cm wide and 25cm deep with a backboard of the same height with 25cm as the border. The side border on the table is 488cm x 5cm height and the height of the table is 46cm/1.5ft.
CATEGORIES INVOLVED IN THE GAME
There are five categories involved in the game of African Billiards, they are:
• Male Single
• Female Single
• Male Doubles
• Female Doubles
• Mixed Team
DURATION OF PLAY
In any competition, the number of game shall be best of five (5) or best of three (3) .If there is a draw a draw encounter is credited to both teams by giving them a point each.
The first player to knock off/down, the seven target seeds in the opponent’s side has won the set after equal number of exchanges. A bullet seed must knock down or shift a target seed of the opponent wholly away from its base.
A bullet seed could knock off/down more than one target seeds during play, it is highly acceptable .You cannot knock down any of your own target seeds. If a situation like that occurs accidentally, station the target seed back to its position.
EQUIPMENT REQUIRED FOR THE GAME
1. A well designed Table or Play Board that was designed for African Billiards.
2. The Seeds:
(a) The big brown/black oblong marble seeds as target seeds (7 vs 7) placed on designated points
(b) Small, dark flatter and more roundish marble seeds. Four (4) in number are used as bullet seeds.
3. Chairs and Tables used by the recorder.
4. Cards (Red and Yellow).
5. Vest and shorts or tracksuit to differentiate and identify the state/club a player or a team is representing.
OFFICIALS INVOLVED IN THE GAME
(a)Referee: One referee will sit by the middle line to put the two sides by his left and right sides.
(b)He will be in total control of the match.
(c)He may use whistle when necessary and also to draw attention of the players, when needed.
(d)He is to record the result of the match.
There are two (2) stewards involved in the game of African Billiards.
(a)One steward each will stand by the two long sides of the table to help recover the bullets that spin off the board, remove bullet and target seeds from the table, re-station target seeds that were hit or fall accidentally, back to position and any other assignments as directed by the referee.
(b)No steward shall stand in a position that block the view of the referee.
He is to arrange the results properly according to the score sheets. He makes sure that the score sheets are numbered accordingly before the start of the match. He rectifies any mistake in the score sheet before announcing the final result.
BASIC SKILLS AND METHOD OF AFRICAN BILLIARDS
Elias bullet spinning skills : There are the skills that are used to knock off/down the target seeds before a player could win a point. These skills are of two (2) types:
(i) Elias Straight Bullet Spinning Skill : In this skill, the game is played by spinning the bullet seeds to knock off or down the target seed(s).It is a direct play.
(ii) Elias Internal Board (Right Side to Left Side) Bullet Spinning Skill : In this type of skill, the game is played by spinning the bullet seeds either to the right side or to the left side of the board, so that after the seed might have touched the internal side of the play board, it will bounce towards the target seed(s) and knock them off or down. This is an indirect type of play.
METHOD OF PLAY
The methods of play in African Billiards are:
• Standing Method (Not frequently used for championships)
• Sitting Method
• Squat Method
RULES AND REGULATIONS OF AFRICAN BILLIARDS
(1) The game is started by tossing a coin to decide who starts the game.
(2) The winner of the toss will choose side between side A and side B on the playing board, and starts the game.
(3)Rotation: After Team A has shot all the 4 bullets seeds, Team B will shoot the same 4 bullet seeds back at his opponent’s target seeds and vice versa depending on the team/side that starts the game.
(4)Match: It could either be best of three (3) or best of five (5).
(5)Winner: (a) The first to clear or knock off all the target seeds of the opponent after equal number of exchanges i.e. equal number of play times by rotations.
(b)A draw encounter is credited to both teams by giving them one point each.
BENEFITS OF AFRICAN BILLIARDS
• It aids quick and fast thinking.
• It makes one to be accurate in targeting an object.
• It helps to reduce stress in the body.
• It promotes friendship amongst people.
• It helps to revive our cultural game.
• It also serves as a recreational game for an individual.
(i) Target Seeds : These are the seeds that are knocked off/down by the player in other to gain points.
(ii) Bullet Seeds : These are the seeds that are used to knock off/down the target seeds of the opponent.
(iii ) Playing Board : This is the board where all the playing action takes place. It is on it that all seeds are placed at all time. It has specifications.
(iv) Collection Box : This is the box that is used to keep target seeds that are captured by the players. The players also use it to store bullet seeds. The bullet and knocked off seeds drop there, when on active play.