Osinbajo’s presence highlights 12-12 International Unity Polo’2017
• Almat, Profile, Dattaku share top laurels
Organized and hosted by 12-12 Polo and Turf Club in partnership with National Orientation Agency (NOA) with the theme: Promoting national unity, multi-cultural understanding and peaceful co-existence, the 2017 polo fiesta was a huge success in so many ways.
One such take home was the historic participation by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo that undoubtedly gave vent to Federal Government’s campaign for the much needed unity and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, using the noble game of polo as vehicle.
After a week of top class polo, the Unity fiesta that featured top 13 teams from all the major polo playing centers in the country and beginners competition by students of El-Amin International School produced four proud winners in the three cups categories competed for.
The prestigious polo extravaganza that climax with pomp last weekend, saw Mohammad Babangida-powered Profile Group team and Maurice Ekpenyong-led Almat Group team finishing tops, just as Hadi Mutallab’s Dattaku clinched the Argentine Ambassador’s Cup, their first major at 12-12 Ground.
Complete with patron, Maurice Ekpenyong, the Badamasi brothers (Malik and Idris) and Rabiu Mohammed, Almat edged out the former champions, Profile Group that fielded two high-goal teams, in a fiercely fought final to clinch their first ever President’s Cup title.
Watched by the special Guest of Honour and Argentine Ambassador to Nigeria, Juan Manuel Ortin and thousands of polo buffs, who thronged the resort nestling on the foot of the Gwarinpa Hills, Almat started with a spark, hitting home two quick goals in the opening chukka.
The unsettled Profile fought back with their opening goal in the second chukka, but the ambitious Almat were more determined, as they held on to win the event’s biggest prize.
If the running for the high stake President Cup was fierce, the battle for the medium-goal Unity Cup was dramatic. Pitching Bello Buba’s pivoted RTC side against victory seeking Lintex led by Bashir Dantata, the final produced its fair share of suspense that would remain the talk of the polo circle for quite a while.
RTC parading Sadiq Ali Sherif, Abbati Kyari, and Seidu Kabiru were cruising, leading 6-4 to the last chukka with their supporters already working up a massive celebration ahead of what seemed an obvious victory. But they were hit by Lintex thunder bolt, and the drama set in.
Needing three unreplied goals in the last two minutes of the game to clinch the title, Lintex’s Bashir Dantata, Abba Dantata, Jamilu Umar and Jamilu Bashir lunched a late push that earned them two quick goals with 40 seconds left.
Jamilu Umar and Abba Dantata stood out to be counted as they combined beautifully to score the winner a split second before the final bell.
Hadi Mutallab’s Dattaku hit it big, smashing their way to the Argentine Ambassador’s Cup title on first attempt, while Evergreen team from Minna finished runners-up in the Unity polo event hosted by 12-12 Polo & Turf Club, in partnership with the National Orientation Agency.
An elated President of 12-12, Nuhu Sani, who thanked the special guest, dignitaries and the crowd for being part of the fiesta, stated that the unity tournament has impacted positively on the tourism drive of Abuja and Nigeria generally.
“On behalf of the management and the tournament Committee let me assure all who made this event the highlight of one of the biggest polo events in the country, that next year would be much bigger, more prestigious and more exciting,” the Vice President and Captain, Isyaku Idris added.
Other equestrian events lined up at the serene polo and turf club that prides itself as the jewel of Abuja city landscape, include the 2018 World Armed Forces International Polo Tournament, Horse Racing and the commissioning of the Riding School, among others.