Twenty-four high-powered polo teams from across the globe are gearing up for Africa’s premium polo extravaganza as the annual Access Bank-UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament commences at the Fifth Chukker Lawns of Kangimi Resort in Kaduna from May 20 to June 7, 2014.
The month-long tournament sponsored by Access Bank is in its 7th year running. The Access Bank Charity Shield was inaugurated by Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club in 2003 as a fund raising platform to support local charity organizations. Since 2006, however, this effort has been exclusively geared towards UNICEF’s intervention projects for orphans and vulnerable children.
The Access Bank-UNICEF polo fiesta which has been the biggest sporting attraction in Nigeria and indeed Africa for over a decade, promises to be competitive and exciting, with the introduction of the brand new Fifth Chukker Cup. The annual tournament has established itself as the biggest and greatest attraction, regularly pulling some of the most accomplished players in world, royalty and heavy hitters in politics and industry.
The low-goal Fifth Chukker Cup gallops off May 20th, with ten equally matched teams jostling to make history as it first winner, is billed to climax on Sunday, May 25, at the lush lawn of Kangimi Resort in Kaduna. Teams vying for the low goal title are Sheyi Oyinola’s SAO Polo who is set to rekindle their rivalry against Hakeem Shagaya’s Unity Polo after their much talked about Dansa Cup clash in Lagos last February.
Others include Engineer Sani Umar’s Kano Susplan who is seeking to improve from their Lagos Low Cup runners’ up finish recently, and Louis Enriguez powered Goly Polo team which is set t arrive from Spain for the polo tourney. The list also include Yusuf Garba’s Kaduna Yula Farms, Opaque Liberty, Ibah Oil & Gas, Niyya Farms, Optimum Riders and Babaduna Kaloma led Terra E&P that has been part of the Charity Shield in the past three years in the Access Bank Cup category.
Fifth Chukker Polo Captain, Babangida Hassan Katsina who disclosed the list of participating teams, expressed delight that the charity event has grown to become one of the biggest humanitarian events on the continent, insisting that his polo is proud to continue in its development of this established partnership with Access Bank and UNICEF.
“Fifth Chukker is proud to continue in its development of this established partnership with Access Bank and UNICEF. The level of play continues to raise the bar in Nigerian polo and captures a truly international following; the charity work follows in a similar fashion,” Babangida added.
He also added that Fifth Chukker is proud to welcome Mr. Kanu Nwankwo, Nigerian ex-international footballer as the 2013/2014 Charity Ambassador who will represent Fifth Chukker on charity initiatives concerning the welfare of the vulnerable and underprivileged children of Nigeria.
Earlier, Executive Director, Personal Banking, Access Bank, Victor Etuokwu had said that proceed from sale of memorabilia at the annual tournament in addition to the N10million donation from Access Bank doubled from the annual N5million, would be used to support UNICEF in its campaign against HIV AIDS pandemic projects for orphan and vulnerable children”.
“This year’s tournament is more than an affirmation of our commitment to socio-economic wellbeing of mankind and acknowledgement of the impact the initiative has had on the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children northern Nigeria especially in Kaduna state; it is also an opportunity for providing special care for Access Bank’s customers through our Private Banking services”.
“Access Bank’s sponsorship of the tournament is as a result of the similarities in the tournament’s objective and the Bank’s relentless campaign against the pandemic,” Etuokwu pointed out, adding that Access Bank is committed to supporting the charity shield event which is organized in partnership with UNICEF and the Fifth Chukker Polo tournament.
“UNICEF looks forward to expanding this partnership to advocate the realisation of children’s rights with special focus on safe and friendly school environments and early marriage says Jean Gough”, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria
So far, more than N100 million has been raised during the charity event, for underprivileged children in northern Nigeria and this has been hailed as a huge achievement for a sporting resort that began only ten years ago, and one that will ensure the success of the ‘Game of Kings’ in Nigeria for many years to come.