2018 La­gos Polo tour­ney, show­piece of cul­ture, tourism

Sunday Trust - - FEVER PITCH - Sto­ries by Ernest Ekpeny­ong

La­gos Polo Club is plan­ning to make the 2018 edi­tion of its an­nual tour­na­ment the best ever. This revelation was made by the Pres­i­dent, Adetokunbo Laoye in an ex­clu­sive chat with Polo Roy­als in La­gos.

The La­gos polo boss, who hinted that the an­nual event has al­ready have record en­tries, stated that no ef­fort will be spared in the bid to make the 2018 tour­na­ment a mem­o­rable fi­esta for all.

Laoye dis­closed that be­yond the sport of polo, the week-long event would be used to fur­ther show­case the tourism po­ten­tials and cul­tural her­itage of La­gos State. The pres­ti­gious fi­esta gal­loped off Fe­bru­ary 14 and cli­max in the first week of March, 2018. Tour­na­ment Man­ager, 2018 La­gos In­ter­na­tional polo tour­na­ment, Seyi Oyi­nola said the cream de la cream of the Nige­rian polo com­mu­nity will con­verge on La­gos to vie for hon­ours at the an­nual tour­na­ment that of­fers four glit­ter­ing prizes and a hand­ful of sub­sidiary re­wards.

The ma­jor prizes at stake dur­ing the tour­na­ment to be de­cided over two week­ends are the Ma­jeko­dunmi Cup that re­mains the big­gest cup of the tour­na­ment and one of the most revered polo ti­tles in Africa. Oth­ers are the Open Cup, the Sil­ver Cup and the Low Cup.

Apart from top Nige­rian pa­trons and play­ers, drawn from all the ma­jor polo cen­tres in the coun­try, pro­fes­sion­als from Argentina, Europe and South Africa will also par­tic­i­pate in the tour­na­ment.

Oyi­nola said spec­ta­tors will be treated to scin­til­lat­ing mo­ments, given the cal­i­bre of play­ers that will fea­ture for their re­spec­tive clubs dur­ing the tour­na­ment.

The Pres­i­dent also dis­closed that the club had to re­turn to the tra­di­tional month of Fe­bru­ary to hold the 2018 tour­na­ment in or­der to avoid the early rains that has been pos­ing chal­lenges re­cently.

La­gos polo sea­son started late last year with the Cap­tain’s Cup and the Xmas tour­neys which were very suc­cess­ful and well at­tended.

Revered as the birth place of Nige­rian polo, the noble game of kings was in­tro­duced in the coun­try by Bri­tish Naval Of­fi­cers, and the game was first played in 1904 on an air strip in Ikoyi, La­gos.

Then in 1914, Kaiser Wil­helm II, King of Ger­many pre­sented a ster­ling sil­ver Cup (now known as the In­de­pen­dence Cup) for a cham­pi­onship between Nige­ria and the Ger­man Cameroons.

The club de­vel­oped rapidly over the years, sur­vived into the new mil­len­nium as the pre­miere club in Nige­ria just like La­gos state which from ini­tially be­ing the cap­i­tal of Nige­ria has re­tained its po­si­tion as the pre­miere state and com­mer­cial heart­beat of the na­tion.

Then in 2010, the La­gos Polo Club com­mit­tee em­barked on the most am­bi­tious re­de­vel­op­ment mas­ter plan and road map to be com­pleted within 10 years.

The ma­jor part of this am­bi­tious project is to cater for mem­bers and their fam­i­lies, guests, ponies and of course the grooms, ul­ti­mately turn­ing the La­gos Polo Club into the des­ti­na­tion point in La­gos.

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