There were lots of sunshine, rains and spectacular finals, but no change of guards as defending champions secured a third back-to –back victory in the just concluded 2019 Yola annual polo tournament that ended with pomp and pageantry last weekend.
After eight days of unforgettable top flight polo actions witnessed by a crowd comprising of royalties, top government officials, business gurus, diplomats and thousands of enthusiasts, it was the defending champions, Malcomines, that remained the brightest star, confirming their Yola dominance with a fourth straight victory.
Debuts, Aldusar from Katsina, clinch the coveted Lamido Cup on their first attempt, home crowd favourites, Yola Yelwa and Bauchi Baban teams complete the list of top winners, earning the INTELS Cup and the M C Tahir Cup respectively.
The Governor Cup final this year, pitching three time champions, Malcomine from Jos and top contenders, Trappco Ranch team from Kaduna was a nerve wracking duel that produced twelve goals as the titleholders easily surpassed their Kaduna rivals 8-4, to remain the kings of Yola polo for the fourth year running.
Bello Buba pivoted Trappco had hoped to re-enact their Katsina victory over Malcomines this year, but that was not to be as Murtala Laushi and his miners came down hard of the low firing ranchers from Kaduna who trailed for most part of the game which happened at Lamido Musdafa Polo Ground.
“It was a great final never witnessed in Yola for a long time. We congratulate the winners and salute the support of our numerous fans. Today is theirs, our next meeting will be ours,” Buba vowed in a chat with Polo Royals.
Event’s second biggest prize, Lamido Cup that annually threw up new winners, was in its full bloom as Usman Ahmed led Katsina Aldusar added another feather to their growing cap, beating a determined home side, AA&R Investment team 8-6 for their first major title in Yola.
The much heralded 2019 Yola polo fiesta also added its share of surprises, as outsiders; Bauchi Baban stunned a crowded field in the race for M.C. Tahir Cup, to snatch a sensational victory over Yola team V in the final game.
Polo Royals also reports that it was not all gloom for the host club, as Mohammed Baba led Yelwa team edged out Strata based team from Port Harcourt 9-4 in another INTEL Cup grudge final to send their teeming supporters into an all night celebration.
Other winners of the prestigious 2019 polo carnival include the Aliyu Dahiru led team that defeated their opponents 6-4, to earn the newly introduced NASCO Cup, and Tanko Ayuba who powered the trio of Mohammed Baba, Asharaf Yahaya and Abdurrahman Mohammed, to clinch the Faro Cup.
The quartet of Umar Hadari, Alhassan Aliyu, and Ahmed Salisu, Idris Ahmed and Nura Mansur power to Gen. Hassan Cup victory, just as Ahmed Salisu earned a double title, leading Bashir Umar, Idris Ahmed and Zubairu Musa to clinch the UNIBEN Cup.
Lamido Adamawa His Royal Highness, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Musdafa and the President of the Nigerian Polo Federation (NPF), Francis Ogboro led other dignitaries to present prizes to the winners and runners-up at a colourful closing ceremony that drew the curtain on another epic edition of Yolo annual polo extravaganza.
In their closing remarks, the Lamido and Ogboro both expressed delight with the corporate and individual sponsors for their loyalty to the sports of kings. They also commended the sportsmanship, discipline and peaceful conduct of both the players and spectators.