Onukogu Kanayochuqu ,Jubal
Lagos Leighton Kings defeated Keffi Ponys 7-6 to lift the 2017 African Patrons Cup in a thrilling, free-flowing match that could have gone either way and was notable for the many misses by the Ponys.
The 2017 5th Chukker Masters held at the grounds of the host club in Kaduna, over the weekend.
Though both teams started the third chukker cautiously, having been inseparable at 3-3 after two chukkers, no goals were scored in the third.
However, the game opened up towards the last stages, with Leighton – made up of the quartet of Martins Juaregi, Babangida Hassan, Bowale Jolaoso and Manuel Crespo – dictating much of the play and scoring three unreplied goals in the fourth chukker to go up 6-3.
Keffi Ponys – Leroux Hendicks, Polito, Bello Buba and Ahmed Wadada – bounced back, scoring three of four goals, while missing as many in the intensely contested closing two chukkers to trail 7-6 at the end of the game.
With this victory, Leighton Kings confirmed their status as 2017 Masters of Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Club, thus adding the coveted African Patrons’ Cup to the Charity Shield they won back in May.
In the lower goal General Hassan Cup, Abuja Almat retained their title by defeating STL Titan 5-4 in another tension-soaked decider.
Both sides emerged from a 10-team strong field of two streams, as only two of three teams to win all two group matches after six days of round-robin shoot outs.
STL Titan’s Tata Ali, Sheyi Tinubu, Ibrahim Musa Dantalab and Khalifa Ibrahim led the match from the second chukker, looking in control and heading for an upset, until Almat’s foursome of Idi Badamasi, Maurice Ekpenyong, Nura Suleiman and Rabiu Mohammed rallied in the dying minutes of the fourth and final chukkers, before administering a coup de grace.
Idowu Adebayo Thompson, Head of Private Banking Group & Assistant GM of one of the major sponsors, First Bank, described the partnership with 5th Chukker as one with outcomes that have met the bank’s expectations.
“We are happy to continue to associate with them to deliver even greater values to all sides.”
Other sponsors are MRS, Rico Gado, Daviva and Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
For the seventh year in a row, the African Patrons Cup was dedicated to the campaign to create more awareness for breast cancer in Northern Nigeria. Other partners of the club in the noble cause include Medicaid, Raise Foundation and Friends Unite.
Activities for this year’s campaign in Kaduna will be rounded off with the Fifth Chukker Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 28.
The 2017 African Patrons Cup was opened by the Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who was represented by the his deputy, Arch. Barnabas Bala Bantex.
On the day of the finale, it was ‘closed’ by the Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who was equally represented by the Speaker of the Kogi House of Assembly Prince Matthew Kolawole.