Crown Polo, Mangal Cement Win Top Laurels

Two debutant teams, Crown Polo and Mangal Cement, displayed exceptional skills on Sunday during the 2024 Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament. 

The grand finale of this annual polo extravaganza will hold this weekend at the Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Resort in Kaduna.

In the first stage of this prestigious tournament, Crown Polo from Jos and Mangal Cement emerged as champions, securing the Access Bank Cup and the UNICEF Cup respectively. Both victories marked their first major triumphs in the event, following closely contested finals.

Katsina Mangal Cement clinched a narrow 6-5 win against the favored Kano MSR Bua team while defending champions, Access Bank Polo Team suffered a loss, falling 10-10½ to Crown Polo from Jos in an exciting final that concluded the first week of the tournament.

The prize presentation ceremony on Sunday was led by Adamu Atta, Founder of Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Resort.  He was joined by Gift Onyinye Akunebuni, Relations Manager at Access Bank Kaduna, and Gerida Birukila, UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Kaduna, among other dignitaries.

Birukila praised Access Bank and Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Resort for their dedication to supporting vulnerable children and the less privileged. 

She emphasised that the international polo tournament aims to raise funds to improve educational access for out-of-school children in Kaduna State.

“This initiative aligns with UNICEF’s mandate to advocate for children’s rights, meet their basic needs, and expand their opportunities to reach their full potential,” she said.

She also encouraged other partners to collaborate to ensure every child in the community has access to quality education.

The second stage and grand finale of the 2024 Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament continues this week, featuring 10 teams with professional players from Europe, Argentina, and Nigeria. They will compete for the Usman Dantata Cup and the event’s top prize, the Charity Shield.

A major highlight will be the Herbert Wigwe Memorial Cup, honoring the late Chairman/CEO of Access Corporation. 

Additionally, the Ground Break ceremony for the second 60-classroom school complex, funded by Access Bank and its Charity Shield partners, will take place.

The Charity Shield began in 2003 as a platform to support local charities in Kaduna. Over the years, it has focused on UNICEF projects for orphans and vulnerable children in Kaduna State.

The tournament gained significant support with a multi-year sponsorship deal from Access Bank, making it one of the best-supported events in Nigerian sports. High-ranking government officials, corporate leaders, and traditional emirs frequently attend the event.

Proceeds from ticket sales and donations are directed to UNICEF to support healthcare and education for orphans and vulnerable children.

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