All road leads to the cosmopolitan city of Kaduna as the 2016 Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament blasts off as follows:
Date: May 25th -June 5th, 2016
Venue: Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Club located at Kangimi Restort , Kaduna.
And with the best of Nigerian players rubbing shoulders with their counterparts from Europe, South Africa and Argentina – the Mecca of the game, polo buffs are sure to be thrilled in ten exciting days of bumper-to-bumper galloping explosion.
The polo extravaganza, which is in collaboration with Fifth Chukker marks the 10th year of the tournament. Executive Director, Personal Banking Access Bank, Victor Etuokwu said the Bank had maintained its yearly support to UNICEF towards its prospect for orphan and vulnerable children.
“We have been working in Kaduna in collaboration with UNICEF to elevate the quality of lives. We need to do a lot more in support of these orphans and vulnerable children especially in the IDP camps to enable them live a better life and have access to education,” he added.
The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Jean Gough acknowledged that the partnership with Access Bank over the past decade has positively touched lives of children needing support particularly in Kaduna and its environs. Gough, who was represented by UNICEF Communications Officer Blessing Ejiofor, stated that the partnership has increased the space for lots of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the target communities to enjoy the rights to education.
Fifth Chukker Polo captain, Babangida Hassan said they are proud to continue in the development of this partnership with Access Bank and UNICEF. The dual phase event will gallop off on Wednesday, May 25 with the match between Titan/STL and Susplan in the UNICEF Cup, a low-goal 15-team event which will commence five days of action in Week 1.
Other teams that will battle in the UNICEF Cup are Agad, Almat, Aerovote, BUA, Jericho, New Line Farms, Niyya Farms, SAT PoloAfrica –a South African team, Seamans Energy, Spring Villes, Sublime, Iyatu Farms and Valda. The final week will see Rubicon, Kashton, and Caverton Sao Polo jostle for the prestigious Access Bank Cup.
Ribicon, who will file out against Kashton in the medium-goal event, will have Jamilu Mohammed shouldering their hope for glory. The +3 handicap Mohammed will be supported by the Badamasi brothers, Maliki and Idris, both of whom are also three goalers, and Hadi Sirika (0). Kashton, on their part, will be banking on the talismanic role of Argentine Manuel Crespo. The seven-goaler was the star man at the 2016 Lagos Polo International Tournament in February where he piloted Fifth Chukker to the prestigious Majekodunmi Cup. South African Juan Du Ploy (+3), Lawal Mohammed (0) and Sheriff Shagaya (-1) all made up the +9 handicap team. Caverton Sao Polo will get their campaign underway on June 3 against Rubicon and the Lagos-based team is formed Seyi Oyinlola (0), Rotimi Makanjuola (1), Diego White (6) and Abdulrahman Mohammed (3).
The Charity Shield event will also be contested by three teams with Keffi Ponys and MRS galloping off proceedings. Fifth Chukker is the other team that will battle in the high-goal event. Keffi Ponys have Hon. Ahmed Wadada (0), Babangida Hassan (3), Diego White (6), and Santiago Cernadas (6) for a team handicap of +15 while MRS is made by Bashir Dantata (3), Idris Badamasi (3), Leroux Hendrix (5) and Tom De Briun (7) for a team handicap of +18. Fifith Chukker is formed by Lawal Mohammed (0), Adamu Atta (3), Julio Nowillo (7) and Manuel Crespo (7).
The 2016 Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament is designed to raise more awareness on the plight of the vulnerable children and orphans especially the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) scattered across northern Nigeria. It is the first phase in the series that will climax in Europe with the Access Bank Charity Shield Polo Day at the prestigious Guards Polo Club in London next month.