Spectators at the Lagos Polo Club were treated to the best of the game on Friday when Lagos Art Hotel-Shoreline team beat Abuja Rubicon 13-10 to win the Italian Ambassadors Cup at the ongoing 2024 Lagos International Polo Tournament. The game, part of the matches at the four-week fiesta at the foremost Ribadu Road Polo Ground in Ikoyi, saw Bashir Dantata and Tunde Karim powering Lagos side, boasting Chris Mackenzie and Manuel Crespo, took to the driving seat in the opening chukka final. They held on to the lead till the last whistle when Makenzie scored the 13th goal of the match in the last chukka to take the wind out of the sail of the hard fighting Rubicon.
The Italian Ambassador’s Cup victory by Art Hotel-Shoreline side, which was the first prize to be decided in the high stake second week of the 2024 GCTO Lagos Polo extravaganza, now puts them on goals advantage ahead of the winner-takes-all Majekodunmi Cup final. “We knew from the start that we were up to a very tough opposition and we needed to stay ahead every second of the game,” Dantata said moments after the explosive game watched by a capacity crowd. “I must give it to Senator Hadi Sirika and Rubicon players for pushing us all the way to the final bell.
But we wanted the title more and I must congratulate my teammates for their determination and commitment, and our teeming supporters who stood by us and urged us on for this sweet victory,” Bashir added.The opening week of the 120th NPA/GTCO Lagos International Polo Tournament came to a befitting climax with Lagos Trojan Ark, STL and Kaduna Sublime Dangote teams sharing the top prizes. Trojan Ark were the biggest winners, clinching the Chapelhill Dandem Open Cup by defeating Lagos STL 9-8 in a closely fought four-chukka final, while STL emerged proud champions in the race for the Oba of Lagos Cup.
The Dapo Ojora Memorial Cup went to visiting Kaduna Sublime/ Dangote team that scored a golden goal to defeat Open Cup record holder, Lagos Leighton Kings, in what has been touted as the biggest upset of the event yet.The third week of the tournament, from February 6 to 11, 2024, will feature 16 teams drawn from major polo centres across the country in battle for the Low Cup. The final week will see a crowd of 14 equally matched low-goal teams slugging it out for the Silver Cup from February 13 to 18, 2024. It promises to be a fitting cap to Africa’s richest polo extravaganza.