The 2017 Access Bank-UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament galloped-off on a blistering note Wednesday at the Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club, Kaduna with three championship games in the Access Bank Cup series.
Kaduna Sublime, Lagos STL Titans and Kano Susplan galloped off on impressive notes, in the opening day competitions that pitched twelve ambitious and equally matched teams.
Kaduna Sublime, featuring Suleiman Bello, Muktar Adhama, Ahmadu Umar and Aliyu Umar hit the ground running with a 5-31/2 defeat of Kano Dantek which comprised Baba Dantata, Sadiq Dantata, Abba Dantata and Abdullahi Hashim in the first game of the tournament.
Lagos STL comprising Titan Seyi Tinubu, Mumuni Musa, Halifa Ibrahim and Ibrahim Mohammed showed the stuff of a former champion, edging YBL-DY Farms 7-5, to join Sublime at the top of the Access Bank Cup log.
Engineer Sani Umar and his Kano Susplan turned up the heat against debuting RISSA in the third and final match of the day, which was undoubtedly applauded by the crowd as the most exciting of the tournament yet.
Susplan parading Engineer Sani Umar, Sadiq Rabiu, Tita Ali and Alwan Umar had looked set to carry the day until an unexpected injury forced Alwan of the match in the decisive third chukka, gifting RISSA the chance to surge forward, holding on to a 5-5 draw at Ground one pitch of the Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Resort in Kaduna.
Revered as the biggest polo tournament in the continent, the weeklong Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield polo event which was inaugurated over a decade ago is set to pick up steam as six more games are lined up in the group stage of the Access Bank Cup series.
Proceeds from gate taking, sales of memorabilia and donations at this annual tournament in addition to a cash donation from Access Bank and individuals go to UNICEF in its campaigns.
The Access Bank Plc, Fifth Chukker and UNICEF partnership has gone from strength to strength and many projects have benefited from the collaboration. A remodeled primary school and rural water projects funded by the Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield tournament were commissioned recently.
The Charity Shield began in 2003 as platform to support local charity organizations in Kaduna. Since 2006 this humanitarian effort has been geared exclusively towards intervention projects for orphans and vulnerable children in Kaduna State.