Dr Harold Agbenu (L), AVM Sonny Gberevbie, Tony Azogu and Rene Gameli- Kwame strike a pose at Saturday’s Independence Day Matchplay between IBB Club of Nigeria and Achimota of Ghana
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Activities marking the 52nd Independence Day Anniversary of Nigeria started Saturday in Abuja when a contingent of golfers from Ghana’s oldest club, Achimota Club 1934, played an international matchplay tournament with the IBB International Golf and Country Club.
Ghana usually fetes Nigeria by sending its business golfers from premier club, Achimota to Abuja to highlight the historic ties between the two West African countries.
IBB Captain Tony Azogu, at the opening ceremony described Ghana and Nigeria as countries that belong to two sides of a coin and in West Africa.
The Nigeria versus Ghana matchplay is one of the activities organized by IBB Club, Abuja as part of Independence Cup 2012 programme.
The double matches were held Saturday, moment after the flags of Ghana and Nigeria were hoisted, followed by the rendition of the national anthems of the two nations.
Abuja, expectedly, gained the edge in the doubles and maintained a comfortable lead going into today’s single matches.
Achimota are in Abuja with a contingent of 20 golfers led by Rene Gameli-Kwame. Former Black Star international, Tony Yeboah, who is an 11- handicapper, is a member of the Ghanaian team.
Achimota lost the corresponding fixtures in Abuja on Nigeria’s 51st anniversary tournament last year, while the Ghanaians won the reverse matches when Abuja went to Accra in March for Ghana’s 55th Independence Anniversary.
Azogu, who celebrated his 50th birthday three days ago, said they wanted to build bridges with the Ghanaians who are Nigeria’s closest neighbours.
Gameli-Kwame noted that the Ghanaians were in Nigeria to end the matchplay home tradition that usually favours the hosts.
“It has been a tradition that anytime each country hosts, the host wins but this time, we are here to break that tradition. Nigeria won’t host to win. This is why we increased our number and the number this year is year is much better than previous years,” he said.
The Independence Day Tournament will be officially teed off Monday by Senate President David Mark, to be assisted by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory Bala Mohammed.
The chairman of the tournament organizing committee, Debo Olateju, told reporters that ace musician, Shina Peters will entertain guests at the Independence Dinner and presentation of prizes Monday at IBB Golf Club.
Some of the major sponsors of the tournament include, GTBank, Shell, PW, Total, Julius Berger, Access, Ecobank, Skye Bank, Pepsi and First Bank.