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EL-Amin proves supremacy at 2019 Minna International Polo Tournement

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Niger State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso (right) presents the IBB Cup to Mohammad Babangida, Patron of EL- Amin at the end of the Minna 2019 Polo Tournament…at the weekend.

Memorable highlights were plenty, but the bold decision by Minna Polo Club to open up the playing field, allowing teams from both divides to participate in the annual tournament this year, was undoubtedly the biggest highlight of the hugely successful 2019 polo carnival.

Reactions to that decision varied depending on which side of the fence you sat. While some saw the Minna decision to invite every polo club to the weeklong fiesta as rebellious, others hailed the host for making their tournament the biggest, more competitive, and exciting in the last five years.

Minna Polo Club Vice President, Mohammad Babangida would not accept the rebellious tag, rather, the patron of the Georgian Cup kings, EL-Amin that extended their Minna dominance in the competition, would prefer critics to see the Minna example as a bridge building effort aimed at restoring Nigerian polo to its glorious past.

Babangida, who doubles as the Vice President of Kaduna Polo Club and the national team captain, pointed out that the full house witnessed at 2019 Minna with players from Lagos, Kaduna and Kano joining the prestigious party, has ended the NPF/NPA impasse and sets the pace for the much expected reconciliation of the Nigerian polo family.

The fact that chieftains of NPF, teams and players participated alongside their counterparts from the Nigeria Polo Association (NPA), Minna 2019 festival created a more colourful and exciting atmosphere, which was not lost on polo enthusiasts that are looking on other clubs across the country to deepen the effort and finally bury the hatchet.

Minna 2019 polo extravaganza that pitched over 20 teams drawn from major polo playing clubs across the country was a weeklong fiesta to remember, with Kano, Yola and host Manna, all sharing podium honours sweeping all the major prizes.

Nigeria’s most successful high-goal  polo team, EL-Amin  sent out a  Georgian Cup warning to their  rivals by retaining the high stake IBB Cup title and Abdulsalami Cup at the expense of hard fighting opponents, Malcomines from Jos.

EL-Amin defeated Malcomines, who had earlier shocked the many times defending champions in their opening game, 7-41/2,  in a thrilling final at the foremost IBB Sports Complex venue of the prestigious annual polo festival, to earn their 16th IBB Cup title.

Team patron, Babangida was understandably delighted with EL-Amin’s first major win this year, which sets them up nicely for another expectedly Georgian firestorm at the Kaduna international polo tournament holding at the legendary Murtala Mohammed Square later in the year.

“The IBB Cup and Minna annual tournament is a major part of our build up towards other high goal tournaments and to win the event’s biggest prize and General Abdulsalami Cup as well before our teeming supporters who travel from across the country to cheer up, is a major plus for us,” Babangida said.

Other top finishers of the prestigious event include the top running Yola Yelwa led by NPF Vice President, Tanko Ayuba, who defeated the highly rated Kaduna Kawo, to clinch the Emir of Minna  Cup, just as Kaduna Barnawa outpaced Minna Tonga to cart home General Hassan Katsina Cup.

Overall, host Minna made a meal of the annual event, harvesting most of the major and subsidiary laurels at stake. Minna Profile, Minna Alduzna and others, clinched the Governor’s Cup, Maizube Farm Cup, Kere Ahmed Cup and Ahamdu Memorial Cup respectively.

At the end of the historic event, the biggest winner was polo, the noble king of sports that boost a rich history in Nigeria spanning over a century.


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