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Blue Jacket award lights up Kaduna festivals

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[FILES] Excitement and anticipation started building a year ago, when the countdown to the centenary of the oldest polo cup in the world.<br />Photo: PEXELS

Excitement and anticipation started building a year ago, when the countdown to the centenary of the oldest polo cup in the world, Georgian Cup was announced by Kaduna Polo Club at the closing ceremony of 100 years of polo in the political headquarters of northern Nigeria.

That countdown frenzy got to its peak early October when five of Nigeria’s strongest high-goal teams and a record 35 medium and low-goal teams fortified with the best of Nigerian talents and their foreign counterparts, stormed the foremost Murtala Mohammed Square for the historic celebration.

From the glitters of the Georgian Cup Legend Award Gala, the magnificent Georgian Cup touch down by a chopper on the final day, to the historic debut of Jos Malcomines, and the determined push by Lintex/Agad to clinch the 400-year-old polo title in the first attempt, Kaduna was the place to be.

After nine days of epic battles, the thrills of the centenary was evenly shared by the winners, Kaduna Polo Club and the decorated Georgian Cup legends, with Rubicon and EL-Amin polo teams letting out the loudest roars.

Rubicon because Senator Hadi Sirika and his Big Boys battled through a tense six chukkas final to secure a last-minute victory over daring Lintex/Agad, to win the Georgian Cup Centenary edition, for their third Georgian Cup title.

EL-Amin because they are the undisputable all times Georgian Cup kings in the century-old proud history of one of the most revered polo prizes in the world.

Mohammad Babangida and his warriors, who won their first Georgian Cup in 1999, have powered on to win the cup a record 14 times.

This remains a landmark feat never achieved by any other team since 1919 when the 400 years old prize made from the finest of Georgian silver was donated by the then British Bank of West Africa, now First Bank Plc, to be competed for annually by high-goal teams across the country.

The biggest off the pitch highlight belonged to the Legends Award Gala that paraded impressive awardees, who were unanimously thrilled by the honours from both the Kaduna Polo Club and title sponsors, First Bank Plc, for recognizing their immense contribution to the myth and the popularity of the Georgian Cup.

Those decorated with the Blue Jackets on the night of legends include Nigeria’s top rated professional, Bello Buba, who has won the Georgian Cup a record 18 times, Bala Shehu Shagari, Amani Idi, Mohammad Babangida, Kashim Bukar, Adamu Yaro and Dawule Baba.

Others are Senator Hadi Sirika, Ibrahim Mohammed, Jamilu Mohammed, Babangida Hassan and the President of Kaduna Polo Club, Suleman Abubakar, who has won the cup four times with three different teams.
 
The Blue Jacket recipients were particularly elated about the award, urging Kaduna Polo Club to make the award ceremony an annual event as an encouragement that would propel upcoming and future generations to aspire to the top in their polo careers.

In recognition of the centenary anniversary of the mythical Georgian Cup, Kaduna polo boss, Abubakar said: “I am proud and humbled to celebrate this wonderful landmark which would not have been possible without the efforts of our esteem sponsors like First Bank, and others, the polo fraternity and the public that supports us.

“Through the last 100 years what’s remained consistent is the high standard of polo that we have witnessed being played at the club and the commitment of everybody involved. You have all exceeded expectations and have played a crucial role in our success, he noted.

“I look forward to many, many more exciting years of polo and on building the mutual trust and friendship among the polo fraternity that we share.” he enthused in his closing remarks.


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