Still basking in the euphoria of the successful tourneys in Minna and Bauchi, polo players cannot wait to showcase their skills at three billboard tournaments spread across the three kingdoms in the north western part of the country next month. Polo Royals’ checks reveal that four ancient kingdoms of Katsina, Kabi and Kano are wearing new looks as their respective tournament dates draw near. All grand slam polo fiestas reputed for their excitements, fierce competition and pomp, are just weeks away.
Polo Royals further confirmed that the vibrancies around the polo fraternity in the kingdoms took to a higher pedestal after the Grounds and Facilities Inspection Committee inspected the respective venues, and gave the tournaments a clean bill of health.
A statement by the Nigerian Polo Federation (NPF) Secretary, Murtala Laushi, indicates that the Katsina tournaments will gallop off in the last week of August, and climax in September. “Please note that Katsina Polo Club, NKS Argungu Polo Farm and Kano Polo Club have all confirmed their tournament dates for 2019 tour calendar from August and early October,” the release pointed out. As the first polo event of the season on the NPF annual calendar and the forth tournament since the Road Tour resumes, Katsina’2019 which is backed by the Katsina State government, and a consortium of blue chip corporate organizations and high profile individuals, promises to be the biggest and the most exciting in years.
Katsina Polo Captain, Abba Kangiwa who pivoted Katsina teams to victories at the recently concluded Bauchi tourney, exclusively disclosed to Polo Royals, that host teams are perfecting strategies to vie for the major titles at stake during the polo extravaganza. He assured all participating teams, polo enthusiasts and tourists of a most memorable time in the “Home of Nigerian Polo”, during the week long galloping fiesta that has remained the biggest sporting cum tourism attraction to the ancient kingdom for almost a century now. Polo Royals exclusively gathered that already, over twenty teams drawn from big polo clubs like Kaduna, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Yola, Jos, Zaria, Argungu, Sokoto and over ten Katsina based teams have indicated interest to vie for laurels in the fiesta billed for the legendary Sir Usman Nagogo Polo Ground.
Glittering prizes, like event’s biggest laurel, the Nigerian Cup top the list of attractive prizes that would be contested for. The list includes the highly revered General Hassan Katsina Cup, Talba Cup, Commasie Cup and the President’s Cup respectively. Others laurels up for grabs, are the Governor’s Cup, Nagogo Memorial Cup, Maidabino Cup, Dikko Memorial Cup, the Beginners Cup and Veterans Cup among other individual awards From the “Home of polo in Nigeria”, the Calvary would make a short trip to the ancient kingdom of Kabi in Kebbi State, for the third edition of the prestigious NSK polo tournament that is billed to gallop off with fanfare early September. NSK Polo Farm proprietor, Nura Kangiwa, confirmed to Polo Royals on phone that the 2019 event backed by the Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu and a consortium of corporate organizations, would be special in many ways, with the return of the foremost Argungu Fishing Festival leading the pack.
Revered as the one of the oldest festivals in the world, the fishing festival which was last held in 2009 has been repackaged to run alongside the polo tournament as part of governor Bagudu’s new drive to revamp the tourism sector of the state. Kangiwa, who is the Special Assistant to the governor on tourism, also told Polo Royals that apart from the game of kings, the annual fiesta would feature an international wrestling match between Nigeria and Niger Republic, Camel racing, Horse racing contests, and a handful of traditional cultural displays. From the North western corner of the country, the long travelling polo caravan will head to the ancient centre of commerce, for the 2019 Kano international polo tournament.
Though the history of Kano Empire date back to 15th century, it wasn’t’ till early 1920s that the game of kings made a foot hold in the kingdom, since then, Kano polo tournament has grown in bounds. Every year, tens of thousands of polo buffs and tourist flock the legendary Usman Dantata polo ground in Bompai for the festival, and the 2019 edition is hyped to be bigger with top Nigerian polo patrons, players and foreign professionals, listed for action. Major prizes to be won during the 2019 polo carnival include the Emir of Kano Cup, Dantata Cup, Dangote Cup and the already crowded MRS Cup. Other prizes include the ever-vibrant, Usman Dantata Cup, Audu Lukat Cup and the Muhammadu Sanusi Cup and the Murtala Mohammed Cup, among others.
Jibril Magaji of Zaria Polo Club receives his prize during the closing ceremony of the prestigious 2018 NSK Argungu polo tournament. The 2019 edition holds big promises with the return of the foremost Argungu Fishing Festival.