Yola’2017 An­nual Polo Fes­ti­val Gal­lops-off

Sunday Trust - - FEVER PITCH -

The an­cient king­dom of Adamawa is in one of its grand­est mo­ments as the pres­ti­gious 2017 Yola An­nual gal­loped off on a blis­ter­ing note yes­ter­day at the leg­endary Aliyu Mus­dafa Polo Ground, with teams from all the ma­jor polo cen­ters across the country vy­ing for top hon­ours.

Re­puted as the big­gest polo car­ni­val in the north eastern part of the country, the eight days events in­au­gu­rated in the early 1930s, of­fers four glit­ter­ing cups as its ma­jor prizes and over seven sub­sidiaries tro­phies to be won.

One of such cups with long his­tory of sur­prises is the highly revered Lamido Cup that has over the decades, been pro­vid­ing more com­pe­ti­tion and elec­tri­fy­ing mo­ments than any other prize in the cen­tury old his­tory of the Yola polo fes­ti­val.

Not for the first time this cup has been rac­ing up the billing as the tour­na­ment’s star at­trac­tions be­cause of their cut­ting edge staple of dra­matic ro­bust­ness and heart stop­ping flour­ishes, the ex­act recipe that turns it on for polo fans who throng Yola an­nu­ally from Europe, neigh­bour­ing Chad, Camer­oun and Cen­tral African Repub­lic in droves.

What stands the Lamido Cup out is quite sim­ply. Apart from its pre-em­i­nent po­si­tion as the sole medium-goal ti­tle from Yola, the ap­proach of the teams from Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi and host Yola is quite unique, a com­mit­ment no other prize can quite reg­u­larly in­duce.

Though the Royal Cup is few hand­i­cap notches be­low the Gov­er­nor Cup here, it has con­sis­tently pushed more fans and higher spec­ta­tor value with its all-action vi­brancy that eas­ily races the adren­a­line and keeps polo buffs on their toes.

Lamido Cup has al­ways pro­duced plenty of sur­prises to un­der­line the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the sport and just last year, the prize played in hon­our of Lamido Adamawa, was in full blown of its un­pre­dictable na­ture.

Per­haps the most eye-catching re­sult in the ex­cit­ing polo ex­trav­a­ganza came from the vis­it­ing teams where Port Har­court rep­re­sen­ta­tives were de­served win­ners of three ma­jor prizes after beat­ing top seeds en route to the fi­nals where they sparkle and flour­ish to the ad­mi­ra­tion of the surg­ing crowd.

Top rated Bello Buba who was voted the Most Valu­able Player of the tour­na­ment piv­oted the home side in a spec­tac­u­lar man­ner to de­feat book­mak­ers’ favourites and former cham­pi­ons, Katsina Kangiwa 8-31/2 in the Gov­er­nor’s Cup final.

His kid brother Hamisu Buba was the star of the Jos Mal­comines’ Lamido Cup vic­tory cam­paign. The Buba broth­ers are lead­ing over two hun­dred other play­ers to the fes­ti­val and polo buffs are al­ready heap­ing their bets on the Bubas to re-en­act that 2016 magic.

Chief host and Grand Pa­tron of Yola polo, the Lamido Adamawa HRH Al­haji (Dr,) Muhammedu Barkindo Mus­dafa, is ex­pected to lead other first class Emirs across the north­ern region, with Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari ex­pected as the Spe­cial Guest of Hon­our to the grand fi­nale of the fi­esta this week­end.

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