The first stage of the ongoing Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield International Polo Tournament came to a flourishing climax at the weekend with outsiders, RTC from Kano upstaging favourites, Abuja Rubicon to win the prestigious Access Bank Cup.
Watched by a capacity crowd that included members of the National Assembly members, traditional rulers and thousands of polo enthusiasts, Kano RTC who were trailing 7-10 with just one chukka to go, lunched a late rally, scoring four un-replied goals to clinch their first Access Bank Cup title in a sensational 11-10 victory.
In what would go down as the most competitive Access Bank Cup in the annals of the prestigious polo fiesta, Rubicon jumped into the front from the blast of the whistle, with their Argentine import, Fernando Bourdieu scoring three field goals in the opening chukka. But their lead did not last as RTC’s pivot, Diego White replied in kind with three penalties goals to draw level in the second chukka.
Cheered on by their supporters, Rubicon opened up a three goal cushion in the third and fourth chukkas, as they were coasting home for their first major title in the glamorous Access Bank powered charity Shield event after missing out in their first ever final four years ago.
Everything went fine for the Senator Hadi Sirika Rubicon, until Kano RTC turn the final on its head with a strike by Murtala Aliyu late into the chukka, while Diego White’s winner with just eight seconds left on the cloak, to send their teeming Kano fans into wild jubilation.
“This is unbelievable. Nobody gave us a chance, but by cheer determination and the overwhelming support of our fans, we make it to the final and produced a stunning victory over hot favourites to win the glittering Access Bank Cup,” declared Kano RTC patron, Musty Shereef.
Shereef, commended Access Bank Plc for bring out the best in his squad, the fans for their support and dedicated their first Access Bank Cup title to their teeming fans and the less privilege children, whose supports fired RTC throughout their victorious campaign.
Access Bank Manager, Kaduna, Mukhtar Abdulmutallab who cheered every moment of the exciting Access Bank Cup final, presented the glittering Access Bank Cup to the winners. He was assisted during the Presentation Ceremony by UNICEF’s External Relations Manager, Rabiu Musa from the Kaduna Filed Office.
The internationally acclaimed Access Bank UNICEF Charity Polo tournament which enters its final stage on Thursday had earlier on Saturday produced its first champions, with Work-to-Ride team from USA defeating DeeBee Farms from Nigeria, to win the coveted UNICEF Cup.
The Americans who lost the cup to AUN of Yola last year, secured a narrow 5-4 victory over the hard fighting DeeBee Farmers from Kaduna, to set an all-time record of winning the UNICEF prize for the fourth time in six years.
For distinguishing themselves throughout the first phase of the Access Bank powered Charity Shield’2013 tournament, Murtala Aliyu of RTC and Daymar Rosser, were named the Most Valuable Player in the Access Bank Cup and the UNICEF Cup series.