Michael Ferreira is of the opinion that the country's cueists, more adept at billiards and snooker, stand a good chance of securing medals in the 9-ball pool event at next year's Doha Asian Games in Qatar.
"I feel India have a good chance of getting medals in the pool event, a medal sport at the Doha Asiad. I cannot say its colour, but am sure the Indians should do well," Ferreira, a former three-time world amateur billiards champion, said in Mumbai on Wednesday, adding, efforts are on to recruit a foreign coach to train them.
"The Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) are in the process of securing the services of a top coach, in all probability from the Philippines, to train our players as none of us in India have the expertise to train the players in pool," he added.
Ferreira singled out Filipino ace Efren Reys as one of those tipped to coach India's players.
"He's an amazing player. He did not know how to play billiards but trained for just a month before winning a South-East Asian Games gold in the sport," he said.
Explaining the difficulty encountered by Indians in playing the nine-ball pool, Ferreira said though they are second to none in potting, they fall short in other areas needed to excel in this particular cue sport.
"In snooker it's more of stun shots and screw backs while in pool one has to make use of the cushions. And in pool the initial break of the balls is vital," he said.
"The top pool players break the formation by sending the cue ball at speeds close to even 200 kph. The cue is bent like a bow to impart power and speed to the cue ball," said the former billiards ace.
"Even world-renowned snooker players like Steve Davis, Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan (all former world professional champions) have tried their hand at pool, but failed to win any championship," Ferreira elaborated.
"We need to have pool championships in the run-up to the Asian Games. The hosting of the 9-ball pool nationals (from August 27-September 4 in Mumbai) is a step in that direction," he said.
Ferreira also felt that pool is the frontrunner among the four cue sports to gain Olympic recognition.
"Its snappy action and short duration is ideal for the Olympics. That's the reason women's pool has been introduced in the Doha Asiad next year," he said.
He was referring to one of the pre-conditions for Olympic recognition, that the sport must be played by both men and women.
Ferreira took the opportunity to hit out at the government's allocation of Rs. 400 crore for sports in the Union budget.
"These people don't realise that most of this amount goes to administering the Sports Authority of India. We need at least Rs. 1500-2000 crore to be set aside for sports if we have to do well at the international level meets like Asian Games and Olympics," he fumed.