By Victor Okoye
Twenty-eight teams were on the ground for the opening ceremony of the 2020 National Carnival Polo Tournament as the event got off to a flying start on Monday in Abuja.
The tourney which is holding at the Guards Polo Club is expected to climax with the grand finale on Sunday. The 28 teams participating are vying for honours in four Cups, namely the President’s Cup, the Legislative Shield, the Guards Challenge and FCT Minister’s Cup. The trophies are for competition in the high, intermediate and medium goal categories of competition at the tournament. Mohammed Hayatu, the Tournament Manager, told NAN that this year’s event which is the ninth edition was the biggest tournament the club had ever hosted.
He added that it was a dream come through for the club’s management. “This year’s tournament is a first of its kind, where we celebrate the Nigeria National Carnival which coincides with the 60th Anniversary of the country and it promises to be a very huge and successful one. “We have players who have come to grace this international event from Argentina, South Africa and other parts of the world. “We also have teams from different parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Yola, to mention a few,” Hayatu said.
The Tournament Manager said the event was also special because it was the first time the club would actually be officially giving out trophies which are instituted in the club. “Before now, the usual tradition was to give out trophies as souvenirs and then purchase new ones the next year, and so on. “But in a strong tradition of polo clubs, where the club attains a certain level in the society of polo, it is very important for a club to have its trophy.
“The Georgian Cup, for example, which is the Kaduna Polo Club’s highest goal cup, is over 100 years old. “The cup is also at the verge of being recognised by the Guinness Book of Records because of its long term sponsorship by First Bank. “There is no cup in the world that is being sponsored for over a hundred years by one particular company. “So, we hope to begin our sponsorship drive with the trophies we will be instituting at the club from this year. This is one of my greatest achievements as the tournament manager, ” he said. NAN also reports that in the matches played on Monday, Nasiriya/IBT Talamiz whipped ZMD Group four goals to one and a half goals. Golden Alchemy defeated Al husna/Trade Mark five and a half goals to five. Also, the Nigerian Army team thrashed Katsina Kangiwa five goals to half in the FCT Minister’s Cup category meant for handicaps 3 to 6. In the Legislative Shield category meant for handicaps 7 to 10, FAS Agro beat D Hayat six and a half goals to five.