*Dogonyaro confident of winning
By Oluwole Francis
Iyatu Farms and Almat CC polo teams on Saturday both recorded wins in their opening games of the 2017 IWAF/Carnival Polo tournament in Abuja.
The carnival which began with a colourful durbar on Monday at the Guards Polo Club is expected to climax on Sunday.
Iyatu Farms who are competing in the medium goal category upset the highly-rated 30 Horse Power 6-3 in the first game of the day.
The first chukka was keenly contested as 30 Horse Power who had won their opening match on Friday with a 4–3 ½ victory over Dattaku looked to show their superiority from the start.
However, it was Iyatu Farms who opened scoring through Aliyu Tijjani (+1) early in the first chukka.
Tijjani doubled the lead shortly before the end of the chukka to make it 2-0.
Iyatu Farms continued from where they left off as Tijjani grabbed his hat-trick.
Tata Ali Kura (+2) rounded up the second chukka with a superb goal from a 30-yard strike to make it 4-0.
The third chukka saw 30 Horse Power looking to stage a comeback as Abdulmalik Badamasi (+3) and Lado Aliyu (+2) both combined to score three goals.
The latter grabbed a brace to make it 4-3. But Iyatu Farms were having none of it as Kura benefitted from a counter attacking move to stretch their lead to 5-3.
This was barely few seconds away from the end of the third chukka. The fourth and final chukka was a close affair as Iyatu Farms looked to defend their two-point lead.
Kura, against the run of play, scored the chukka’s only goal in the dying minutes to heap more misery on 30 Horse Power as they pressed to reduce the deficit.
The second game of the day saw Almat CC whip Aviva 4-2 in the battle for supremacy in the high goal for handicaps +6 to +9.
Patron of Dogonyaro Farms has expressed confidence in the ability of his team to win the Guards Challenge title at the 2017 IWAF/Polo Carnival tournament.
The opening match played on Friday saw Dogonyaro Farms and Capital Builders slugging it out in a pulsating encounter in the Guards Challenge for handicaps -3 to 0.
However, it was Capital Builders who edged Dogonyaro Farms in a nervy 7-6 thriller.
Dogonyaro said that even though his team lost, they would still go ahead to lift the title on the final day.
“I can comfortably say we are the best team in our stream. We have beautiful mounts, everybody is enjoying himself and we are playing safe.
“The good thing about our game is that we play as a team and anybody can score as was evident in our game today (Friday). From today’s game you can see that even though we lost by a goal, we were the better side.
“It’s just the two of us battling it out for supremacy in the Guards Challenge and so as it stands it’s a one point difference but I can assure you that it will count for nothing in the finals on Sunday.
“I don’t want to say it’s anybody’s game because I am confident that the title is ours by the grace of God,” he said.
He however attributed the team’s loss to a few tactical errors but praised his team for putting up a good fight.
“Today’s game was quite interesting and my team had a good game. We took a huge lead in the second chukka but like it happens in the game of polo, it is never over until it is over. My players played with their hearts but that’s polo for you.