The glamorous Nigerian new polo season gallops off with fanfare today (Sunday), with the Niger Delta polo festival in Port Harcourt as the opening event on the crowded calendar, all eyes are on the event’s biggest prize, General Hassan Katsina Cup contest set for another royal rumble.
General Hassan Cup packs a punch this year, with defending champions, Kaduna Trappco, Abuja Rubicon and two debutants, Jos Malcomines and home crowd favourites, Port Harcourt Stratabase, all eyeing the coveted prize that crowns the champion of the prestigious annual festival.
Polo Royals checks across major polo clubs in the country reveal that these four top the preparation frenzy investing heavily in horsepower and fortifying their squads with foreign professionals in their determined effort to win in Port Harcourt.
The reason is obvious. There is this traditional believes within the polo circle that winning the first tournament of the year portend loads of luck that would ultimately drive the teams’ successful campaign throughout the season.
From Lagos to Sokoto, Port Harcourt to Yola, polo clubs have been bubbling with practices and mini-tournaments, an indication that the 2020 season would only be one of the most exciting, but most competitive in decades.
In Lagos, there were series of tournaments package exclusively for the teams to put finishing touches for the ahead of the Port Harcourt trip. Same with Kano, Kaduna, Abuja and only last weekend, Jos Polo Club hosted an abridged winter tournament to keep their ponies and players fit for the 2020 national tour.
While visiting teams are upbeat for the trip to the oil-rich Niger Delta region, management of Port Harcourt polo club are working around the clock, to deliver a perfect season opener that lit-up the glamorous national tour from January to December.
Port Harcourt Polo Captain Barrister Tela Attoni who disclosed this Polo Royals, states that everything is looking good ahead of what would be the most exciting polo tournament in the Rivers State capital city for decades.
He further confirmed that the prestigious polo festival is billed to gallop off with fanfare on January 12, 2020, at the foremost GRA polo ground in the Garden City. The grand fiesta is majorly sponsored by Rivers State Government and blue-chip firms and organizations like Dubai Tourism, among others.
Captain Attoni assured polo enthusiasts a grand celebration in Rivers State, insisting that beyond the sport of polo, the week-long international fiesta would showcase the tourism potential and cultural heritage of the entire Niger Delta region.
Tournament Manager, Victor Fingesi confirms Polo Royals that four major laurels; General Hassan Cup, President Cup, Governors Cup and TY Danjuma Cup, would be on offer during the weeklong battle royals.
With traditional rivals and former champions from Abuja, Kaduna and teams from Kano, Lagos, Jos, Yola, Katsina and Ibadan expected, the high profile polo fiesta, promises to live up to the billings as the, biggest polo event in the South-South geo-political region of the country.
The expected participation of top Nigerian stars and world-class professionals has already hype the festival to the high heavens as polo aficionados are salivating at the prospect of yet another Port Harcourt high goal extravaganza.
A release by the Tournament Committee, further disclosed that the festival would surpass last year’s edition in every scope as traditional sponsors and other benefactors have rallied around the club, to host a successful and exciting festival.
Polo Royals also gathered that a grand package of entertainment featuring the best hands in the industry has been put in place for teeming polo buffs, players and guests during the festival, while a long list of high profile personalities is expected to witness the event this year.
As one of the biggest Polo approved tournaments and the most prestigious polo carnival in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, enthusiasts are in for a special treat as player and horses match talents and wits in what promises to be weeklong of intense, invigorating polo at the highest level.
Port Harcourt Polo Club was established in 1972 by the Nigerian Army. It was later handed over to civilian management in 1974 and the club is duly recognized as a Polo playing Club by the Nigeria Polo Association.
The Club has, since its inception striven to encourage horse riding, equestrian sporting activities and of course the game of Polo. Over the decades, the polo heaven has become a major centre in the social and tourism calendar in Port Harcourt and the entire South/South zone of the country.
From the Garden City, the season will gather steam as its cruise through the ancient city of Ibadan, Lagos and rounds off the southern tour at the exclusive Abraka Turf and Country Club in Abraka in Delta State, with Easter international carnival.
© Pakistan Press International, source Asianet-Pakistan