Youngsters challenge old order as 36 teams take over Ribadu Road
A team of ambitious youngsters, playing as Team NextGen Polo, are among sides jostling for honours in the 2023 NPA/GTCO Lagos International Polo Tournament, which gallops off tomorrow at the prestigious Lagos Polo Club, Ribadu Road, Ikoyi.
The team, making their debut in the yearly event, will compete for the Majekodunmi Cup, which will also feature some of the most experienced players in the game.
Apart from NextGen Polo, other emerging players, including children of members of the Lagos Polo Club, will also showcase their talents at the tournament, which offers four major prizes and six subsidiary laurels.
The competing teams, some of which have foreign professionals and are fortified with thoroughbred Argentine horses, will compete for the Silver Cup, Lagos Low Cup, Open Cup and the event’s biggest prize, the Majekodunmi Cup.
The subsidiary prizes are the Oba of Lagos, Governor’s Cup, Adedapo Ojora Memorial Cup, Sani Dangote Cup, the Italian Ambassador’s Cup, the Independence Cup, Lagos Heritage Cup, Chief of Naval Staff Cup and the Independence Cup.
According to the organisers, for the second time in the history of the polo festival, the event would be decided over three weeks of bumper to bumper polo actions, beginning with six equally matched teams jostling for the Open Cup from tomorrow to February 5.
The highly revered Majekodunmi Cup will hold from February 7 to 12, with three teams, including the defending champions, Lintex, former champions Leighton Kings and a debutant battling for the top prize.
The last week of February 7, 2023 would feature 27 teams drawn from major polo centres across the country battling for the Low Cup and the Silver Cup. The race for the two major prizes gallops off on February 8, while the winners will emerge on February 19.
Tournament Manager, Olumayowa Ogunnusi, while unveiling the programme, promised three weeks of thrilling polo experience for the sport’s buffs, sponsors and partners.
Commending the main sponsor, GTCO and other partners, Ogunnusi said having gained reputation as one of the biggest polo tournaments in Africa, the Lagos Polo Club is set to deliver great value for the sponsors and participants during the fiesta.
Polo Captain, Rotimi Makanjuela, who gave a breakdown of the teams vying for top honours, also disclosed that professional players from Argentina, United Kingdom, South Africa and professional umpires, would feature in the tournament.
On the innovations at the club, Polo Club President, Bode Makanjuola, said the continuous infrastructural upgrade has been primed for safety of players and horses in line with international standard.
Makanjuola added that the number of teams and the calibre of players expected at the tournament indiactes that the 2023 edition would be intensely competitive and entertaining for sponsors, players, guests and polo buffs alike.
Representative of the main sponsor, GTCO, said the sponsorship of the 2023 NPA/GTCO Lagos International Polo Tournament, which has grown over the years to become one of the most anticipated social and sporting events, is a demonstration of the bank’s strong belief in the role of sports in developing and uniting the society.