For the next 11 days, the attention of polo aficionados will shift to the Ribadu Road ground of the Lagos Polo Club as the 2017 NPA Lagos International Polo Tournament gallops off to exquisite actions of topflight matches.
Already in town for the prestigious Majekodunmi Cup are top players from Argentina and South Africa. Some of the stars listed to light up the tournament include; Manuel Crespo a seven-goaler from Argentina; South African Tom De Bruin +7; and Alfredo Bigati, another +7 handicap player from Argentina, who will be making his debut.
Other professional players include; Santiago Cernadas +6, Santiago Astrada +6, Diego Whyte +5 and Martin Juaregi +5 all of whom are Argentines. South African Leroux Hendriks +5 is not left out.
Of course, some of Nigeria’s middle-rated handicap players like Adamu Atta, Babangida Hassan, Bello Buba, Bashir Dantata, Kwame Isa, Abdulrahman Mohammed, Ahmed Umar, Murtala Aliyu and Saidu Umar will also be on parade.
The 11-day polo extravaganza, which has Guaranty Trust Bank as main sponsor, will see teams compete for honours in four main cups namely Silver Cup, Open Cup, Lagos Low Cup and Majekodunmi Cup split over two weekends.
Scheduled to kick off the 2017 edition in the newly introduced Silver Cup this afternoon is the match involving Lagos STL and Ibadan Challenge.
Speaking at a media session to herald the 2017 edition of the premier polo tournament in the country, Lagos Polo Club President, Ade Laoye, promised polo aficionados top-class action alongside fun and excitement.
He added that this year’s edition will be better, describing the Lagos Polo Club as the new face of polo in Nigeria. The LPC chief stated that massive infrastructural upgrade has been carried out for proper and efficient polo with all the safety measures.
GTBank Head of Corporate Affairs and External Communications, Oyinade Adegite, pledges the financial institution’s support for the game.
She said, “For GTBank, polo is a special game; a special sport. The uniqueness and the quality of the game endeared us to the sport. Aside, the passion and competitiveness of the sport are part of the values that drives our commitment.”
Nigeria Polo Association Chairman, Dolapo Akerele, also expressed confidence on the success of the tournament pointing that Lagos Polo Club has continued to excel and show examples to other clubs.
Aside polo, a lot of social activities are on the card for the duration of the tournament.
Deputy Tournament Director, Seyi Oyinlola disclosed that 10 teams will battle for the newly-introduced Silver Cup which used to be the Dansa Cup while four Lagos teams will compete in the Open Cup.
He added further that an unprecedented 12 teams will feature in the Low Cup while three teams will contest for the prestigious Majekodunmi Cup, regarded as the most prestigious polo title in Nigeria. Lagos Centaurs, Lagos Fifth Chukker and Kano Keffi Ponys are the teams competing in the Majekodunmi Cup.
Oyinlola also disclosed that there are three select cups which are Oba of Lagos Cup, Italian Ambassador’s Cup and Independence Cup. The Oba of Lagos Cup will feature two Lagos teams and it will come up on Saturday February 18 while the final of the Silver and Open Cups comes up the next day to wind up hostilities for the first week.