By Patrick Omorodion
The annual Emir of Katsina Charity Shields Polo Tournament kicks off today at the Fifth Chukker Lawns of the Kangimi Resort in Kaduna with 25 teams from across the globe battling each other for the two-week duration of the Access Bank sponsored event.
However the event which is in its fourth year may be the last unless the sponsor agrees to extend the contract, the bank’s Executive Director, Commercial Banking Division, Obeahon Ohiwerei said at the press briefing to usher in the 2011 edition.
Ohiwerei said that “the proceeds from the sale of memorabilia at the tournament in addition to N5million donation from Access Bank Plc, would be used to support UNICEF in its campaign against HIV AIDS pandemic.”
Three trophies, namely Access Bank Cup, Muhammadui Kabir Cup and the UNICEF Cup, he said, will be competed for by the teams including the defending champions, Fifth Chukker, three-times winners, MRS, former runners-up, Titans and other regulars.
The regulars expected according to the Access Bank boss are Tavia Trojan, Linetrale Trafigura and DeeBee while newcomers like Kano and Lagos polo clubs “should expectedly brace up for a real baptism of fire.”
He disclosed that six teams of equal strength such as Fifth Chukker, Kano Titans, Tavia Trojans, Lagos Agad, Keffi Ponies and YY Team have confirmed their readiness to jostle for the main prize, the prestigious Muhammad Kabir Cup.
For the UNICEF Cup, two Nigerian youth teams, Turkish International University, Abuja and America University, Yola are expected to face Work-to-ride team from USA, as well as a team from Egypt and Ghana.
The Access Bank Cup will be competed for by Kano Bua, Kano Dala, Kano Nakudu Farms, DeeBee Farms, Arkpolo, Ninco Gas & Oil and Dáfrik polo team in the two weeks event named after the late Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir Usman, who was a pillar of polo for over 50 years.