The much-awaited 2018 Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament galloped off to a flying start at the Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Resort in Kanjimi, Kaduna with two open-ended games in the UNICEF Cup series.
Team Rubicon began their campaign on a positive note in defeating DeeBee Farms 71/2 – 4 in the opening of the prestigious charity polo event that pits a record 15 teams this year.
Parading the Badamasi and the Sirika brothers, Rubicon jumped in front right from the first chukker with two quick goals, holding back the hard-fighting DeeBee farmers to a 51/2-3 lead at the half way mark of the fiercely fought encounter.
Though DeeBee Farms pivot player Dawule Baba scored two field goals in the third chukker to reduce the margin, it was not enough to tie the board as Malik Badamasi converted two penalty goals in the last chukker to give Rubicon a deserved victory.
Tila Farms, skippered by Rabiu Mohammed also earned full points in their opening game with a 91/2-5 win over team Ibah to share the lead with Rubicon in their quest to win the UNICEF cup this year.
Team Ibah with the likes of Khalifa Ibrahim and Yusuf Garba could not rise to the challenge from the rampant Tila side who led 5-0 in the first chukker to dictate the pace till the end of the encounter that was watched by a huge opening day crowd.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and diplomats were amongst thousands of polo buffs that watched the opening ceremony of this edition.
Expectedly, the grand fiesta picked speed Wednesday as the campaigns for the glittering Access Bank Cup and the Charity Shield take centre stage.
Revered as one of the biggest charity polo tournaments in the world, the Charity Shield has been enjoying the exclusive sponsorship of Access Bank for more than a decade. It offers three major prizes, the UNICEF Cup, Access Bank Cup and the high goal Charity Shield.
The week-long annual event is a robust corporate social responsibility partnership platform set up in 2003 by Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club. In conjunction with Access Bank Plc, it has been raising funds to support UNICEF projects for vulnerable children and the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Kaduna and northern Nigeria.