As the Easter holidays are approaches, the Nigerian polo fraternity is waiting with baited breadth for the polo tour to move up north for the Savanna trip, and the countdown is already underway for the pilgrimage to Zaria.
The Savanna tour bouquet that is the longest in Nigerian polo season, holds over twelve tournaments (both public and private), with Kaduna state and the federal capital city, Abuja being the starting points.
As the first tournament that gallops off the second leg of the glamorous national polo tour, the prestigious Zaria polo extravaganza is guaranteed to be the most exciting and highly competitive and lots of funs.
Billed for its traditional Queen Elizabeth Road Polo Ground venue, the weeklong event that usually attracts teams from around the country, is a must attend as most of the big names in Nigerian polo are expected to showcase their skills.
Zaria polo is all about the Royal Signal Cup, the tournament biggest and one of the most wanted polo prizes in the country. The allure for the title comes from the fact that the winner of this prestigious prize is crown the king of Zaria polo.
Teams from Katsina, Yola and lately Jos are the traditional rivals in this high-goal cup showdown and this year the rivalry is certain to acquire an added zeal for obvious reasons.
Polo Royals checks also revealed that there are strong indications that teams from latest frontier, Argungu may join the growing crowd jostling for Zaria polo top diadems.
Traditionally billed for the Easter holiday period, but pushed forward by weeks, Zaria’2019 would provide a convivial ambiance for the polo fraternity to celebrate the noble game of kings in the foremost Zazzau kingdom from April 22, 2019.
The prestigious fiesta that attracts over twenty teams from major polo centres across the country enjoys the royal backing of the Emir of Zazzau, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Shehu Idris and the Emir of Katsina who is the Life Chairman Nigerian polo, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Kabir Usman.
Organized by the Nigerian Polo Federation (NPF), the glamorous fiesta that remains the biggest tourist attraction to the ancient city, is chiefly sponsored by Kaduna State, with strong supports from the governments of neighbouring states, Katsina and Zazzau Emirates Council, among others
Captain of Zaria Polo Club, Faruk Dokaji told Polo Royals exclusively that the glamorous polo festival would feature top teams from Yola, Bauchi, Minna, Abuja, Jos, Katsina, Minna, Maiduguri and Sokoto in a weeklong galloping showdown.
According to Dokaji over twenty battle ready teams loaded with all the big names of Nigerian polo, are expected to vie for honours in four major title categories and a handful of subsidiary prizes at stake.
He listed the major prizes to include the high stake the Royal Signal Cup which is the biggest cup, the medium-goal Emir of Zazzau Cup, Jafaru Cup and University Cup.
Polo Royals can also reports that in their bid to compete favourably for the top prizes at stake, host Zaria is packaging over three strong teams that would carry the hope of their teeming fans throughout the glamorous event and the captain has specifically singled out the University Cup as one of their biggest targets.
“Polo and the Zazzau Kingdom have a long history of partnership that dates back almost century now and by popular reckoning, 2019 polo tournament promises to be most exciting parade of kings the ancient city has witnessed in decades,” the captain pointed out.
In the next six days Zaria will welcome thousands of visitors and tourists, as polo buffs from neighbouring cities arrive in their droves for the event that precedes the prestigious Charity Shield polo, the Unity polo and the Minna annual polo tournaments respectively.
President of Nigerian Polo Federation (NPF) Francis Ogboro is expected to lead chieftains of the polo ruling body, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam EL-Rufai and top dignitaries from around the country for what promises to be a colourful opening and closing ceremony.
Straight from the serene Queen Elizabeth Polo Ground, the Calvary would hit the road to the Niger delta, with the exclusive Abraka Turf Club in mind. As at the time of filling this report, confirmation for the Niger Delta trip was still being awaited.
Abraka holds sway as the nation’s biggest holiday resort during the Easter Holidays, and chief host, Prince Albert Esiri has always been on ground to make the Easter tournament the biggest and the most memorable weekend for the patrons, players and visitors alike.
From Abraka, the road tour will head back north to the nation capital city for the Democracy Polo Tournament at the Guards Polo Club at Asokoro.
Since democracy took root in 1999, this prestigious event has been holding annually to mark Nigeria’s progressive growth as a democratic nation and to celebrate our much cherish democracy.