The ancient kingdom of Katsina is bubbling with excitement as the prestigious Katsina Polo carnival galloped off with fanfare. As the first event of the new season, the foremost Katsina fiesta that is warming up its centenary is revered as one of the biggest polo events in West Africa.
Inaugurated in the early 1920s, the international fiesta will thrill for eight days from August 24th to 31st, 2019 at the legendary Usman Nagogo Polo Grounds in Katsina with all the big names in the nation’s polo fraternity participating.
Polo Royals reliably gathered that the polo grand slam that that traditionally hosted by the Emir of Katsina, and Life President of the Nigerian Polo Federation, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Kabir Usman, is billed to climax this weekend, with of President Muhammadu Buhari expected as Special Guest of Honour.
According to the Secretary of the Nigerian Polo Federation (NPF), Murtala Laushi, the tournament will electrify polo enthusiasts of the noble game of kings with top class polo actions that would be witnessed by political bigwigs, diplomats and captains of industry, who would grace the prestigious fiesta on a daily basis.
Katsina Polo President, Prince Usman Usman Nagogo has invited all lovers of the noble game of polo across the globe to be part of the international event that is revered as one of the four biggest polo grand slams in the country.
He assures all participating teams, polo enthusiasts and tourists a most memorable time in the “Home of Nigerian Polo”, during the week long galloping fiesta that has remain the biggest sporting cum tourism attraction to the ancient kingdom for almost a century now.
Polo Royals can also confirmed that the international polo fiesta that marks its 97th anniversary, enjoys the solid backing of Katsina State Government, Katsina Emirate Council, the Lamido Adamawa, handful of cooperate organizations, and prominent individuals.
Polo Club Captain, Abba Kangiwa who confirmed that Katsina is set to welcome everyone to the prestigious 2019 edition of the event that is home to one of Africa’s oldest polo diadems, the Nigerian Cup.
He further disclosed that over seven Katsina based teams have already perfected strategies to vie for top laurels during the weeklong fiesta, insisting that the host club is set to compete for all the prizes, starting with the event’s biggest and the most wanted Nigerian Cup.
Kangiwa thanked the State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, Emir of Katsina and other corporate and individual sponsors for their commitment and support for the noble game over the years.
According to the polo captain, the glamorous annual festival revered for its cutting-edge competition and pomp, is guaranteed to continually maintain its prime rating and become increasingly popular in the years to come.
Revered as the ‘Home of Nigerian Polo’, Katsina’2019 attracts a record line up of popular Nigerian polo teams. They would be complemented with the participation of renowned international players from Europe, Argentina and South Africa.
Participating teams confirmed for the weeklong tourney, are expected from Kano, Argungu, Kaduna, Zaria, Sokoto, Abuja, Keffi, Bauchi, Minna, Jos, Yola, Port Harcourt and EL Kanemi Polo Warriors from Maiduguri.
Polo Royals checks also reveals that an unprecedented number of 800 thoroughbred horses and over 300 battle ready players are billed to showcase their skills during the fiesta.
NPF President, Francis Ogboro who hailed all participating teams, players as well as polo buffs for making it Katsina for the first tournament of the new season, urged participants to always maintain the highest-level discipline and sportsmanship the noble game of kings is revered for.
“Let me once again remind all those vying for honours, the officiating officials and committee members, to always uphold the rules of the game as sacrosanct,” Ogboro added in his opening message.
The polo boss, who was reviewing the outgoing season, told Polo Royals that the rich history of the ancient game would be in full bloom as the season gallops off in the ancient kingdom of Katsina, in a fortnight.
Last year, Murtala Laushi and his Jos Malcomines produced polo master class performances to win their first ever Nigerian Cup title. The historic victory that draw massive thumps up from Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari saw Malcomines defeating Katsina Kawo in the final game of the fiesta to clinch event’s biggest prize.
They added the Muhammed Dikko Cup, played in evergreen memory of the father of Nigerian polo, to extend their winning runs to an all times fourteen back -to -back victories, as the 2018 Katsina International polo climaxed with pomp and pageantry.
The international polo fiesta also saw the Yola BSC from Fombina Kingdom retains the General Hassan Cup, while Bauchi Babban Gwarni team clinched the Talba. Home crowd favourties, Katsina Danmarna also share podium celebration with Coomassie Cup respectively.
The tournament has over the decades been attracting special delegations and enthusiasts from neighbouring, Niger Republics, Benin, Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Prizes like the General Hassan Katsina Cup, Talba Cup, Coomasie Cup, the President’s Cup and the Nigerian Cup, being the biggest reward, will be keenly contested for.
Others are the Governor’s Cup, Nagogo Memorial Cup, Maidabino Cup, Dikko Memorial Cup, the Beginners’ Cup and Veterans Cup among other individual honours.
With the guaranteed presence of His Royal Highness, Emir of Katsina and Life President of the Nigerian Polo, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Kabir Usman, State Governor, Aminu Bello Massari, first class Emirs and a long list of political bigwigs, diplomats, captains of industries and first class emirs, Katsina’2019 polo promises to be grandiose.