Abuja - Fifteen teams across the country will from Monday compete in the fourth edition of the Abuja Polo 2013 National Unity Tournament.
The tournament, organised by the Abuja Guards Polo Club in collaboration with the ministries of youth, culture and tourism, will hold from May 20 - May 26 at the Guards Polo Club by Brigade Stables, Abuja.
The Captain, Abuja Guards Polo Club, Mr Mustapha Junaidu, told newsmen on Sunday in Abuja that this year’s edition would be better than last year's in terms of preparation and number of participants.
He explained that the tournament was part of the Democracy Day celebration.
"We believe this is the little we can do as a club to celebrate our nation’s democracy.
"Being a unity tournament, we are bringing people from all over the country to come participate and celebrate the Democracy Day."
Junaidu noted that Abuja, being the centre of unity, was a very befitting location for the tournament.
"This year, our special guests include Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr Edem Duke, Minister of Youth and Development, Mr Inuwa Abdulkadir and Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, who also are our partners," he said.
Junaidu revealed that AITEO Energy were the major sponsors of the tournament last year and the biggest sponsors the tournament has ever had.
"They have been supporting the Abuja Guards Polo Club since its inception.
"Other sponsors include Unity Bank, Fidelity Bank, NEXIM, MTN, Niger State Government, NDIC, ALS Place and COSA Motor Sports," he said.
He also acknowledged the contribution of the Commander of the Guards Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe adding that he has been very supportive of the Abuja Guards Polo Club.
He revealed that there were four main cups to be competed for which includes: The Guards Challenge, the Guards Brigade Trophy, the Legislative Shield and the President’s Cup.
According to him, The Guards Challenge is mostly for beginners and ranges from -2 to -5 team handicap.
"The Guards Brigade trophy has five teams challenging for the cup and ranges from 0 to +3 team handicap. We have teams representing various states in the country; Zaria, Kaduna, Bauchi, Katsina and FCT.
"In the Legislative Shield which ranges from +4 to +7 total team handicap. We have four teams participating.
"The President’s Cup which is the highest trophy and ranges from +8 and above has three teams participating in the cup.
"We have foreign players coming from Argentina, South Africa, England participating mainly in the President’s Cup," he said.
Junaidu also noted that another team will make a debut in the tournament this year.
"The team is a combination of players from Sokoto and Keffi known as ‘NFK Farms’. They are based in Keffi and led by DSP Haruna Shagari," he said.
The club captain added that they had also introduced a new cup in this year’s tournament known as the ‘Calban Maina Cup’ in honour of the Governor of Niger, Dr Babangida Aliyu.
"We are recognising his enormous contribution to polo both in FCT and the country," he said.