Ugar Ukandi Odey, Jos.
Several Handicap players and teams received trophies in different categories as part of featured activities marking the end of the 2020 annual Jos Polo Tournament.
After a highly entertaining and pulsating horse racing in five chukkas, the home team, Malcomines gave its supporters, management, and Governor Lalong hopeful looks into the new year as it dispatched its rival finalist, Keffi Ponys, 5 goals to 4 to retain the Governor’s Trophy which it also won in the 2019 edition.
The Emirs and royal fathers did not regret their time at the Jos Polo ground to be part of the NASCO Group sponsored annual event as the state governor, Simon Bako Lalong was also in the state box of to watch the quartet both sides display skills and their professional rankings.
Parading players as Murtala Laushi, Murtala Aliyu, Hamisu Buba, and Alejo Aramburu, ranked as +1, +3, +4, and +6 respectively, the Jos-based Malcomines entered the tournament with a an appreciable professional handicap. With an inferior handicap summed from +1, +2,+3, and +6 for Ahmad Wadada, Aliyu Tijani, Abdulmalik Badamasi, and Santiago Marambio respectively, the Keffi Ponys could not manage failed to make much use of its only hired assassin in the five-chukka match.
The final match being the 33rd match of the tournament, this year’s was more glamorous and grandiose in scale, with 18 teams participating in the President Cup category, while the Governor, NASCO, and Imani Cups had three, five, and two participants respectively.
With only a few hired assassins on parade, a few hooks, and few millionaire shots, analysts say the final match in which the Malcomines ponies showed superior strength, with only four intervals between, fell short of high handicap match.
However, elated by the outcome of the match, Governor Simon Bako Lalong said the year couldn’t have begun on a better or more positive note. In his address to bring the days proceedings to a close and also wrap up the 2020 Jos Polo Tournament, Lalong said, inter allia, “I have been informed that the week-long event enjoyed the participation of polo teams and enthusiasts from across the country.
This development delights me as it again shows the growth of the game and its resilience particularly during this era of COVID-19.
Let me therefore specially thank the Nigerian Polo Federation and the leadership of the Jos Polo Club for consistently hosting this tournament.
The sponsorship by NASCO Group of Companies and other corporate bodies has steadily enhanced the quality of the annual tournament and also created more awareness on the game of polo in Nigeria and Plateau State.
As a Government, we are determined to consolidate on this positive development by supporting sporting events particularly polo which has a long and rich tradition in Plateau State.
This is because apart from bringing together polo enthusiasts to enjoy the game, hosting a tournament such as this promotes tourism, economic prosperity and opens up Plateau State to the world”.
Governor Lalong said further that “we are committed to consolidating on the peace of our State and also ensuring that we create economic opportunities for our people.
Considering the realities of COVID-19 and the impact of the Economic Recession, my administration is more than ever determined to maximize all the advantages that sports provide for business opportunities.
As patron of the Jos Polo Club, I re-assure you that we will develop the facilities for the game of polo in Plateau State and also encourage grass-roots participation particularly among the younger generation.
While I commend all participants, I wish to congratulate the winners of various prize categories of the tournament. For those who are not taking home prizes, you are also winners as this tournament would not have been successful without your participation.
Drawing from the experiences of this tournament, let us all go back and prepare to stage a more robust event at the end of the year. We in the Jos Polo Club will ensure that we prepare vigorously to contend and emerge victorious”.
With the Jos Polo Club boasting of 32 playing members of different handicap standing, the closing ceremony also featured award of different categories of trophies to various teams and individual players.