Abuja Almat team has set a new record as the only team ever to win the Majekodunmi Cup at the very first attempt during the Lagos International Polo Tournament. It is on record that no team can stroll into Lagos polo tourney and win the event’s biggest title on first attempt for decades. The prestigious polo carnival that pitch over 34 polo teams and top Nigerian and foreign players left in its glowing trail many memorable highpoints both on and off the pitch.
One such glittering highlight was the curtain drawing final game that decided the winners of the event’s biggest prize and Nigeria’s oldest polo trophy, the Independence Cup. The tense final game that was decided before loaded galleries of the foremost Ikoyi polo club saw Bode Makanjuela’s Centaurs taking an early lead with two quick goals through Diego White and held on till the third chukka, when Maurice Ekpenyong’s Almat responded with two goals.
Almat fought back gallantly to draws level 6-6 in the fifth chukka, but their rally came rather late as Centaurs enjoying huge added two more goals in the dying minutes of the last chukka, stunning their Abuja opponents 8-6 final scores to cart home the Independence Cup.
“It was a nerve wrecking final. Our Lagos opponents pushed us all the way, but we wanted the cup most and our determination paid off with a deserving victory, Ekpenyong declares shortly after receiving the Majekdunmi Cup from Dr. Majekodunmi at a colourful presentation ceremony.
“I want to thank all our numerous supporters who stood by us all the way, my teammates and polo buffs across the country for joining us in celebrating this double victory on our very first attempt, a feat that we treasured so much. Ekpenyong added with a smile.
The Low Cup final that preceded the final game, also produced a new winner as Bello Buba pivoted Sublime team out gun Aplus RCF 51/2-5 in a closely fought final game to win, to win Low Cup, while Kano Ibah got the better of Lagos Agad team to clinch the subsidiary prize.
But the finest moments of the finale stage of the international polo grand slam that was inaugurated in 1904, belong to Abuja Almat whose stunning performance fetch them the Majekodunmi Cup after winning their opening game 11-8 against Lagos STL, to clinch the glittering Italian Ambassador’s Cup. Seyi Tinubu’s STL who were also pushing to win the Majek Cup title on first attempt finished runners-up, in a promising campaign that stands them out as one of the best performing teams in the 2019 Lagos tournament that include APlus Renmoney, Caverton / Saopolo and Lagos NRT.
The first phase of the 2019 GTBank Lagos International Polo Tournament ended with Kaduna Trappco edging Almat Farms of Abuja to emerge champions of the Open Cup, while Lagos NRT defeated Kaduna Tila Farms to clinch the Silver Cup. Lagos Polo Club President, Ade Laoye who described the tournament as one of the most successful in years pointed out that the campaign for Majekodunmi Cup, Open Cup, Low Cup and Silver Cup prizes, were most competitive and the most exciting in years.
He thumbs-up all the corporate sponsors for promoting polo and sports generally in Lagos and in Nigerian as a whole, noting that the relationship between Lagos polo and sponsors over the years has had a positive impact in the development of the game of kings. Tournament Manager, Seyi Oyinlola promised that next year would get better as it has always been over the years adding that “it’s going to be a two weeks of thrilling polo experience for the lovers of the game.”
Oyinlola stated that having gained reputation as the biggest polo tournament in West Africa, the Lagos Polo Club look forward to delivering great values for the sponsors and partners of with the glamorous fiesta. For another year running, the competition will host a renowned and faithful collection of sponsors supporting this long-standing event. Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) lead the sponsor’ board, joining the other distinguished team sponsors BUA Group, WAPIC Insurance, Arbico, ChapelHill Denhem and Verve Champagne, as well as a new additions, Shell, Coca-Cola.
Source: All Africa – https://allafrica.com/stories/201903310142.html