2017 Abuja Unity polo tournament that has sparked off a massive frenzy is gearing up to be an irresistible spectacle, across the country and beyond.
The prestigious event galloped off with fanfare Tuesday is on the calendar slated from 9th-14th May.
Already, Polo buffs from major polo centres around Nigeria and foreign tourists are gearing up for the event taking place at the Abuja Guards Polo Club which is the 9th anniversary celebration.
And this year could be a particularly special one as reports indicate that top politicians, captains of industries and societal effluents, are gearing up for the tourney.
The Chairman/ Captain of the high profile club, Mustapha Junaidu, who dropped the hint to journalists, stated that top Nigerian polo patrons, foreign players from Argentina and Nigerian professional players are expected to showcase their awesome skills at the polo fiesta.
Top prizes will be won during the week-long epoch polo event that remains one of the single biggest sporting events in the nation’s capital city.
Speaking in a Press Conference, Junaidu gave the names of the teams in the event to include defending champions, Keffi Ponys and Max Air, amongst others.
He stated that no fewer than 14 teams and 54 players from the major polo centres like Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Zaria,Yola, Keffi, Port Harcourt, Bauchi and host Abuja have confirmed their readiness to vie for honours in the prestigious Unity Polo tournament.
He said a total of about 250 to 300 horses would be participating in the tournament, adding that a couple of top rated professional players, including Fernando and Gonzalo Bourdieu from Argentina to mention a few would be in action during the week-long event.
The teams would be competing for four major championship prizes that include the Guards Challenge Cup, Guards Brigade Trophy, Legislative Shield and President’s Cup which is the event’s biggest title at stake during the annual event.
Apart from these cups, there will also be the Late Umar Shinkafi (Marafan Sokoto) Memorial Cup, Late Labaran Kago Memorial Cup and the Beginners Cup.
Junaidu noted that the defending champions of the President’s Cup, whose patron is Senator Hadi Sirka would be hoping to cause an upset once again by beating their fierce rivals, Keffi Ponys to the title once again.
“Keffi Ponys on their part, whose patron is Hon. Ahmed Wadada won the Cup back-to-back in 2013 and 2014 editions and will be looking to wrestle back the title again from Rubicon with Nigeria’s top rated player 4-goaler Bello Buba in the team,” he said.
The Chairman also thanked the various sponsors and donors for their unprecedented support to ensure that this year’s event is the best ever, adding that the tournament was being supported by corporate heavy weights in communication, banking, Oil & Gas and manufacturing sector of the economy.
Our sponsor First Bank, MRS Oil Nig. Plc, Almat Group of Companies, Rubicon Aeronotics, Medicaid and Safara Foods.
“For six solid days last May, Abuja witnessed one of its grandest moments of the year with highly competitive matches between the top-ranked teams and emerging polo powers on knock-out phases that bucked the trend and delivered more memorable funs never witnessed in the FCT.
“Positive, competitive polo was also a major factor in contributing to full and vibrant ground and the most spoken about sporting event of the year.
“The 2017 edition is guaranteed to surpass that feat in pomp and pageantry as surging crowd of over ten thousand polo freaks urge their teams on,” Junaidu said.
Tournament Manager, Aliyu Umaru, also confirmed that everything was on ground for a successful hosting of the tournament.
“Our pitch is in top shape and the location of the Guards Polo Club remains a tourist delight.
“Those who would be part of this historic event are guaranteed a most exciting and the most memorable time in Abuja,” he added.
Also speaking, Bunza Mohammed, the entertainment manager said all was set to ensure that the fans are well entertained during the tournament.
“We have loads of events lined up from barbeque, dinner and an after-party on the grand finale,” he said.
Also expected to grace the week-long polo fiesta are a long list of royal fathers, state governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly, captains of industries.