Ancient city of Ibadan in Oyo Kingdom, celebrated one of its grandest moments, hosting the prestigious Ibadan’2019 Polo Tournament, which came to colourful climax last weekend with visiting Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and debuting Red Crown from Jos sweeping the stakes.
Host Ibadan polo club who were eyeing two of the most wanted prizes, could only managed a runner’s –up finish after a week of top class galloping fiesta that attracted polo buffs and tourists to the political headquarter of western Nigeria in droves.
Expectedly, Ibadan’2019 rumble pitched teams from five major polo clubs across the country and after an exciting week of intensive campaign, the titles were lopsidedly shared, with the visitors enjoying victory podium celebrations, much to the chagrin of the expectant local polo buffs that could not high their disappointments.
Polo Royals can exclusively reports that for the second year running, Seyi Tinubu’s Lagos STL were the big winners of the prestigious event, carting home the event’s biggest prize and one of Nigeria’s most revered polo titles, Ibadan Cup.
STL who finished runners-up in their Majekodunmi Cup chase on first attempt at the recently concluded Lagos international tournament , made good use of their inform fitness and improved horse power to turn back pre-tournament favourites, Kaduna Trappco Ranch who left the legendary Eleyele polo theatre with consolatory runners’ up laurels.
Kaduna contingent had hope for an encore after winning the Rotimi Cup last year, after a long absence, took off with a spark, winning their rain delayed opening game, but ran out of steam when it matters most, gifting the seeking glory Lagosians 51/2-4 winner in the tense Ibadan Cup final game.
With the tournament biggest cup already in the bag, Lagos contingent were looking for a double in the Rotimi Cup final, but that ambitious hope was not to be as the top shooting Kano Ibah who won a major title at the Lagos glamorous event, strolled past Lagos A-Plus 7-1/2 in a one sided final, to win their first ever Rotimi Cup title.
Polo Royals that took a vantage position on the side board through the weeklong Ibadan polo extravaganza, can also revealed that the event that rounded up the southern leg of the national polo tour, also threw up two best outsider performers whose impressive campaigns added to lingering memories of the fiesta.
Port Harcourt based Stratabased polo flew the Niger Delta flag with honour, edging debutant Red Crown in the battle of the debutants final match, to win the glittering Ade Alakija Cup played in ever lasting memory of the late captain of Ibadan Polo Club.
Sammy Nasreddin and Red Crown squad whose trip to the south west was their first tournament participation outside their Gen. Hassan Polo Ground heaven in the chilly Plateau state capital city left Ibadan on high, with the Ade Alakija Cup runners-up prizes to show.
Other subsidiary prizes and individual wards like Prof. Owoeye Cup, Shoreline Cup, among others were carted home by the respective winners at a well attended closing ceremony that attracted of the crème de la crème of the society to the grand finale.
Ibadan polo captain, Koyin Owoeye who described the event as one of the most exciting Ibadan tournaments in years, hailed all the visiting players and the teeming polo enthusiasts for making the glamorous fiesta such a huge success.
“We are particularly indebted to our numerous sponsors for their unflinching support which ensures the successful hosting of this international polo tournament even at such notice,” Owoeye added.
“We are heading for Kano and other tournaments with the right frame of mind, having picked up few tricks from Lagos and our tournaments. Anybody who stands on our way in any of the cups we are targeting would pay dearly for it,” Owoeye warned.
Analysts believe that for Lagos and the Ibadan teams who are the flag bearers of the southern contingents, what is left now is for them to travel to Kano and complete the restoration by defeating an expected loaded field from the northern part of the country.
Polo Royals however sees this as n ambitious plan that has already been described as wishful thinking by the duo of Babaduna Kaloma and Faruku Ibrahim from Kano.
The duo who are quite familiar with the Kano polo firestorm, are insisting that what Kaduna, Lagos and Port Harcourt teams archived at the 2019 Ibadan showdown, were a flukes that would not stand the expected battle that await all comers during Kano tournament later in the year.
“No problem. They should just come in their numbers and enjoy our traditional hospitality and forget about the major title because they would go back with nothing, they both chorus as the curtain fell on Ibadan’2019.