The 2018 edition of the prestigious Access Bank-UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament is scheduled to hold at Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Resort, Kaduna, between Monday, June 18 and Sunday, June 24, with 15 teams vying for honours in three cup categories, organisers of the event said at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
Revered as the biggest charity and sporting attraction in Nigeria and perhaps on the African continent for years, the 2018 edition promises to be the most competitive and exciting with a record number of entries with international stars from around the world on parade.
Executive Director, Personal Banking, Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu, who confirmed the tournament date at a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, said the bank will continue to maintain its yearly commitment in supporting UNICEF towards its projects for orphans and vulnerable children.
He noted that Access Bank and Fifth Chukker had over the years been supporting UNICEF and empowering people in Maraban Jos community and its environs in Kaduna in a pivotal commitment that has continually been lauded by the public.
Etuokwu who led other top officials of Access Bank to the media event, expressed delight that the Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield is achieving its main objective of reaching out to the less privileged children in the society.
â€œWe have been working in Kaduna, in collaboration with Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Resort and UNICEF to elevate quality of lives. We need to do a lot more in support of these orphans and vulnerable children to enable them look forward to a better tomorrow,â€ he added.
Marketing Manager of Fifth Chukker, Hafsat Ambursa said special food and entertainment fares have been added to the event this year, to make it more exciting. She also disclosed that cuisines from Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, Argentine and host Nigeria would be exhibited during the week-long charity polo fiesta.
â€œFifth Chukker is proud to continue in its development of this established partnership with Access Bank and UNICEF. As the level of play continues to raise the bar in Nigerian polo and captures a truly international following; the charity work follows in a similar fashion,â€ she added.
UNICEF Partnerships Officer, Angela Ochuko Ege, said, â€œThere are millions of Nigerian children out of school and many of them are from the north. I do believe the power of education will transform the society. So, UNICEF looks forward to expanding this partnership (with Access Bank) to advocate the realization of childrenâ€™s rights as well.â€
Campaigns for the glittering Access Bank Cup and the low-goal UNICEF Cup promise to be an exciting experience with regulars and debutants bracing for fierce games in a potentially explosive confrontations that may remain tight up till the very final day of the grand fiesta.
Defending champions, Leighton Kings who are seeking their second Charity Shield title, will have their hands full as they battle two former finalists, Abuja Rubicon and KeffiPonys for the continental polo crown.
So far, more than N100 million has been raised during the charity event, for underprivileged children in northern Nigeria and this has been hailed as a huge achievement for a sporting partnership.