Ahead of the 2009 MTNÂ Â International Polo Tournament, the ancient city of Kano is giddy with excitement. Clearly the biggest annual event in Kanoâ€™s sporting calendar, the polo fiesta will kick off on 27 June at the legendary Murtala Mohammed Polo ground in Bompai.
According to the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade, this yearâ€™s polo event would be a memorable one.
â€œWith the solid backing of MTN, the Kano Polo tournament has become increasingly popular by the day. And in line with our position as an organization which seeks to support the distinct lifestyle of its various customers, we have put everything in place to make this yearâ€™s edition one of the most memorable in years,â€ he said.
Mr. Akingbade revealed that one of the highlights of the tournament is the â€˜MTN Innovation Day,â€™ which is a grand exhibition to showcase various life-enriching innovative products and services, specifically designed to enhance the life and business performance of the northern elite.
Dubbed as the most exciting polo tournament in years, the prestigious line up of popular Nigerian polo teams will be complemented by the presence of renowned international players like Juan Roman from Argentina and Richard Pohl from South Africa.
At the last count, a record number of 27 teams, an unprecedented number of 400 prime horses and over 180 battle ready players will participate in the tournament.
According to the Kano Polo Captain, Alhaji Tajudeen Dantata, the host, Kano, would field teams in all the major cup categories.
â€œOver 50 top class games would be decided during the fiesta.Â Let me also add that the two foreign professionals – Roman and Pohl are not strangers to the cutting-edge competition of the Nigerian polo. Both are listed for the high stake Emir of Katsina Cup and the Dantata Cup which pits top rivals in a winner takes all galloping warfare,â€ he said.
Roman, who was part of Kano Titans, the team that finished runners-up in last yearâ€™s Charity Shield polo tournament in Kaduna, is returning to challenge the Kano side in their quest for the Emir of Katsina Prize, while Pohl who was also part of the Xenon team in Lagos, would be leading the Kaduna side in their Dantata Cup campaign.
The combatants in this high-goal Emir of Katsina rumble include defending champions, Mohammed Babangidaâ€™s El-Amin, Tajudeen Dantataâ€™s Kano Titans and Bashir Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s Katsina Hajara Farms, while about seven teams are lining up for the top running Dantata Cup, with Kaduna going for the kill with three teams.
The thrilling and entertaining four chukkersâ€™ polo explosion is expected to live up to its traditional competitive tradition. Dignitaries expected to grace this yearâ€™s tourney include the Emir of Kano, Dr. Ado Bayero; Life President of the Nigerian Polo Association, Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Kabir; and Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Dimeji Bankole.