2016 ACCESS BANK/UNICEF POLO
* Children’s Day celebration takes centre stage
The 2016 Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament continued yesterday at the Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club, Kaduna with Jericho out-galloping MR Steam 6-4 in Match-day 2 of the UNICEF Cup.
Jericho made up of Koyin Owoeye (0), Saidu Umar (2), Ahmadu Umar (3) and Babawo Lawal (0) were the first to threaten as Owoeye had his goal-bound shot blocked by Suleman Bello but three-goaler Umar soon shot them in front with a 60-yarder.
Moments later, the hit-man, who was the MVP of the Low Cup at this year’s Lagos International Polo tournament, combined with his older sibling Saidu to double their lead which they held till the end of the first chukka. MR Steam has Suleman Bello (0), Mukhtar Adama (1), Abdulahi Hashmi (2)and Murtla Aliyu (2) and it was their hitman Aliyu who sparked their revival with a low shot at the start of the second chukka to make scores 2-1.
He was to have two unsuccessful 60 yard shots the last of which was expertly stopped on the goal line by Ahmadu Umar. Seidu got his name on the scoresheet to keep their two-goal lead but Aliyu got a goal again just before the bell to keep his team within a touching distance as the chukka ends 3-2 advantage to Jericho.
Scores were levelled barely two minutes into the penultimate chukka as Aliyu finished off with a low drive after a breakaway but Ahmadu scored again to give the Ibadan-based team a 4-3 lead. And soon after he once again brilliantly stopped Aliyu’s mid-air shot. Saidu Umar closes scoring in the final seconds of the chukka to make score 5-3.
The goal of the day came from Ahmadu – a coast-to-coast breakaway – to give Jericho a 6-4 lead after Aliyu scored his side’s fourth goal.
Four matches are on the schedule for today in the 15-team UNICEF Cup with Susplan needing to avoid defeat against AGAD in order to be in contention for the knock-out stage beginning Saturday. Other matches will see Hamdan take on Iyatu Farms, Valda battle Seamans and Titan/STL confront Spring Villes.
Meanwhile, kids are set for one of the grandest moments of their lives as Access Bank Plc today celebrate the Nigerian child at the ongoing polo tournament with a special Children’s Day event.
The Children’s Day event which will feature over 200 school pupils from selected schools around Kaduna city and its environs, will see tthem spend a whole day at the foremost Kangimi Resort, venue of the charity polo event, has received accolades from prominent members of the society.
This event has become a special part of the charity polo tournament which started nine years ago with Access Bank as main sponsor.
The Emir of Hadeja, HRH. Adamu Abubakar Maje performed the traditional opening ceremony formalities while Special Guest of Honour, the former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, lauded the Access Bank commitment to the UNICEF campaign for children rights and the Children’s Day initiative that would further deepen the initiative.
They both single out the unequalled involvement of Access Bank in promoting charitable efforts, polo and sports generally in the country, as strategic platform to alleviate poverty in the society and redirect youths away from societal vices as worthy of emulation.
Executive Director Personal Banking Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwo had earlier disclosed that the special day which would see the children having fun and try their hands in various sporting events and sketching, as part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility, and one of the ways of giving back to the society.
“Apart from being a major stakeholder in the promotion of polo for years now, we also decided to partner UNICEF and the organisers in this Children’s Day event as part of our the Nigerian child development initiatives,” he added.