Lagos biggest polo prize, the Majekodunmi Cup will be the star attraction as the prestigious Lagos international polo extravaganza enters its grand finale this week at the legendary Ribadu Road polo arena in Ikoyi.
Ahead of the winners-takes-all final stages, aficionados and polo buffs are already salivating at the chance of witnessing the crowning of the new champions of the highly revered 68-year-old prize as four teams square up for the crown. Defending champions; Almat team did not come to the party this year.
Formidably formed with foreign professionals, the contestants are Lagos Leighton Kings who are making their first attempt at the top title, Lintex/Agad, Keffi Ponys and Murtala Laushi powered Malcomines from Jos, who are playing their first-ever Lagos tournament.
Horse for Horse, move for move, the trio is set for what would undoubtedly be one of the most contested Majekodunmi Cup in years. Make no mistake, whoever survives this weekend and clinches the title, should be ready to take as much as they give in this adrenalin rush face off.
The crowded Lagos Low Cup that attracted six ambitious equally match teams with a handful of rookies from all the major polo centres across the country, promises to be another big spectacle that is guaranteed to be muddled up till the last game, to separate the eventual winner.
Two big subsidiary cups, the Italian Ambassador’s Cup and the Kaiser Cup, now Independence Cup reputed as the oldest polo prize in Nigeria competed for by high-goal teams since the early 1900s, would add to the glamour of this international fiesta.
Lagos Polo Tournament Manager, Captain Seyi Oyinlola confirmed to Polo Royals that the second stage will run from March 20 through the weekend, with many Lagos’ teams and visiting teams battling for the Low Cup while three teams, from Abuja and Lagos, are gunning for the biggest and one of Africa’s most wanted polo title.
For another year running, the competition will host a renowned and faithful collection of sponsors supporting this long-standing event, with Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) leading the sponsors’ board.
Other distinguished sponsors include Carverton, Metro Capital, WAPIC Insurance, Arbico, ChapelHill
Denhem and Verve Champagne, as well as a new addition, Shell, Envivo, among others welcoming polo aficionados.
Elite, stylish and extravagant as usual, the social scene of this annual tournament is as much of a show as the game on the pitch, with loads of entertainment and a colourful crowd that include, Obas, Emirs, Business tycoons, and society affluence lapping up the magic of the noble game that made a historic landfall way back in 1904.
The much-awaited first stage of the 2020 GTBank Lagos Polo International Tournament galloped off in an exhilarating fashion Tuesday with Lagos Wontra bagging a 6-5 win over Lagos Almina Group while Golden Alchemy outplayed Lagos Dania A+ 10-4 in Silver Cup encounters.
Wontra, formed by Charles Oluwole, Altaf Abubakar, Yemo Alakija and Aliyu Tijani, underlined their intentions from the start with Tijani scoring with an inside shot with barely 20 seconds inside the keenly-contested Stream A game but none of the sides were able to hit target till the chukka elapsed.
Altaf made it 2-0 for Wontra as he scored in the opening seconds of the second chukka before two-goaler Tijanii, who was the man of the match, scored again to make it 3-0 with a solo goal having picked the ball in the 60 yards.
Rabiu Mohammed scored Almina’s first goal but Tijani restored Wontra’s three-goal lead almost immediately converting a low shot but Almina which also featured Ahmadu Husaini, Omoruyi Giwa-Osagie and Yasin Amusan won’t give up yet as Mohammed scored a 40-yard to keep the game alive.
Giwa-Osagie’s goal kept the match on knife-edge finishing off a move orchestrated by team captain Yasin Amusan but Tijani again scored before the clock beeped for a 5-2 second chukka lead for Wontra.
Alakija’s goal which was Wontra’s sixth was sandwiched by Husaini and Mohammed goals and it proved to be the difference between the sides.
The second match of the day was contrasting to the preceding match as Alchemy outplayed Dania A+ to lay claims as one of the favourites for the Silver Cup Khalifa Adams was the stand out performer scoring a handful of Golden Alchemy’s goals. Sadiq and Bilal Dantata, as well as Musadiq Tahir, also played crucial roles in securing the vital victory in Stream B.
Lagos Polo Club President, Ayo Olashoju who has participated in the tournament for over a decade, says the contest for the Majekodunmi Cup prize this year promises to be the most competitive and the most exciting in years.
He thumbs-up all the corporate sponsors for promoting polo and sports generally in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole, noting that the relationship between Lagos polo and sponsors over the years has had a positive impact on society.