The 2012 Lagos International Polo Tournament opened with record team entries for some of the cups. MTN is the main sponsor of the tournament but more than half the event's N80million revenue was donated by subsidiary sponsors such as Oando, Dangote group, Besse Oil and Delaney.
The fiesta started on February 27 and runs through March 11. Teams from Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan and Lagos are participating. In all, 32 teams have been drawn for the four major cups up for grabs. The high goal Majekodunmi Cup features defending champions Linetrale Delaney, Fifth Chukker and Ironclad, Femi Otudeko's ambitious big ticket entry.
The Majekodunmi is especially coveted in this 50th anniversary year. The cup was donated to the Lagos polo club in 1962 by former Western Nigerian administrator Dr Moses Majekodunmi. In the intervening years the trophy has enjoyed unprecedented interest by Nigerian teams and patrons. In one particular record stretch of 14 years between 1993 and 2006, 14 different teams won the cup, a world record for a polo prize and possibly any other sport.
This is also a big year for the Open Cup as it marks its 75th anniversary. The 2012 Open tournament features seven teams split into two leagues with each team playing two qualifying games. League A comprises Agad, Shoreline, HST11 and defending champions. Tavia Trojan, while league B has Titans, YY Ibako and Goodfellows. The winners of both leagues will play the Open Cup final on Sunday March 11.
By far the most contentious fixtures are the Low and Dansa cups where fully half of the teams are incredibly guaranteed just one game each. In the Low Cup the 12 teams from as low as handicap 1 to a high of handicap 7 are divided into four leagues with the four winners playing off in the semi finals.
A consolation match for the Governor's Cup is all the 5th and 6th placed teams get. The fixture is particularly very tough on visiting teams and players who may end up playing just one game after coming all the way from, say, Kano or Argentina.
10 teams in the Dansa Cup with names such as Decline and fall and Lead City Reform Sports will all play one match each across two groups. The top two teams from each group will play the semi finals while the overall 5th and 6th placed teams will play for the Owen Cup. Again, that leaves four teams playing just one game each.
The Dansa Cup pool includes three Kano and two Ibadan teams. The tournament could well become one expensive hobby especially if they crash out after just one game.
As part of the events lined up for the tournament, there was a lavish black-tie dinner at the Civic centre with highlight performances from Tiwa Savage, MI, Ikechukwu, W4 and a host of others.
To conclude the tournament, there will be a showcase from various fashion designers.
The Black-tie Dinner
Words: IshakuKigbu Via Allafrica.com
Pictures: Nadya Ruth Froesch