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NSK, Shabazz, Team FIRS, Fayrouz emerge Argungu polo tourney winners

September will remain a month to relish in the annals of the ancient kingdom of Kabi which came alive for the finals of the Argungu Polo Tournament hosted by Turakin Kebbi, Nura Kangiwa and his NSK Polo Farm.

The annual polo and cultural carnival that was highlighted by two days of unforgettable cultural displays and traditional sporting competitions by various groups across the state produced big winners in three major cups categories.

The tournament which swung into action August 1, attracted polo lovers from across Nigeria and beyond, and top teams from Kaduna, Zaria, Jos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and host Argungu parading some of Nigeria’s most experienced players and professionals from around the country.

The event’s biggest prize, the Governor’s Cup final decided before a surging crowd that included the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammad Saad Abubakar, Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, top government officials from Niger and Benin Republics, and diplomats was undoubtedly the star match of the week-long polo fiesta.

It was the host team, NSK that narrowly lost the cup last year to Jos Malcomines that gave the teeming home crowd a lot to celebrate for, after defeating the top running miners on the toss to clinch the event’s biggest prize, the Governor’s Cup.

Boosting Nigeria’s top gun, Bello Buba,, Lado Aliyu, Nura Suleiman and defense maestro, Baba Kyari NSK came under the firepower of Malcomines fortified by Tata Ali, Abba Mohammed, Hamisu Buba and Murtala Aliyu, but the revenge-seeking NSK held their ground through the fiercely fought two spilt games.

Expectedly, the Tin City Boys fought back to draw level 3-3 after Bello had put the home team ahead with two quick strikes, thus sending the tension soaked final to the cliffhanger, with a chukka left to decide the winners.

The epic final chukka was better witnessed than imagined as the combatants threw everything at each other including a good dose of dust enveloping the whole ground. It took the bell to separate the unyielding titans 3-3 final scores, while the mammoth home crowd broke into wild celebration as their darling NSK won on toss.

With a surging crowd of first-class Emirs from Bade, Keffi, Nasarawa, Gwndu, Gummi, Yauri, Zuru, three emirs from Niger Republics, host Emir Samaila Mera of Argungu and chieftains of the NPF led by President Francis Ogboro in attendance, the prestigious festival throw up three more champions in different cups categories.

Other proud winners of the prestigious polo-cultural carnival that served as a forerunner for the return of the foremost Argungu International Fishing Festival early next, saw the Niger Delta flag bearers, Shabazz from Port Harcourt edging Mera Farms in a keenly contested four chukka final game, to clinch the highly revered Sultan Cup.

The race for the coveted Emir of Argungu Cup that was fiercely fought over three days of top polo actions saw Team Fayrouz led by Abdulwahabi Sani Stores, upsetting former champions, West Stream Ponies to clinch the glittering title.

The race for the coveted Dangiwa Umar Cup saw Sheikh Gwamna skippered Team FIRS outpacing the long travelling A-Zablink from the Garden City 4=31/2 in the final, to clinch the title played in honour of the former Kaduna State military governor.

Ikenna Nebolisa skippered Blinkers who debuted in the low-goal cup contest were on their way to pulling the biggest upset of the tournament, but their late rally that produced two quick goals in minutes could only crown their effort with the runners-up prize.

Elated host, Nura Kangiwa who congratulated all the winners and the runners- up says everything worked well as planned, pointing out that the tournament showcased the traditional cultural displays of the kingdom in good measures, was a befitting appetizer of what to expect at the Fishing festival next year.“

I want to thank all our partners, the Kebbi State government, the traditional institution, visiting delegations from Niger Republic and our corporate sponsors for their immense support,” declared Kangiwa, who promised to make the next edition a weeklong carnival, to accommodate more teams.

“I also want to thank all the participating teams for their sportsmanship and the teeming crowd of polo buffs who made the 2019 edition of the NSK polo tournament such an exciting and a memorable fiesta that has permanently registered Argungu as a polo destination to be,” he concluded.

Kebbi State Governor, Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Argungu, and the newly turbaned Dandarma of Argungu and NPF President, Francis Ogboro, who led other dignitaries to give out prizes to the winners, lauded the NSK Polo Farm initiatives for setting the pace for tourism drive to the northwestern part of the country.

“Kangiwa’s pace-setting initiative to reposition the noble game of polo and tourism in Kebbi State is quite a commendation,” the NPF boss declares.

“I will continue to urge other individuals and corporate organizations to emulate the sterling example of the Turakin, in joining hands to develop the tourism potentials of the region,” Ogboro added in his closing remarks.

Sultan Abubakar (111) who was the Special Guest of Honour at the grand finale, led Governor Bagudu, other emirs and NPF boss, Ogboro, to give out prizes to winners and runners-up finishers during at a colourful closing ceremony that brought the prestigious polo- cultural fete to a memorable finale.

SOURCE: DailyTrust