Polo lovers in Nigeria and beyond are set to be treated to thrilling sporting actions as the NPA Lagos International Polo Tournament returns for the 2017 season. Sponsored by leading African Financial Institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, the competition will bring together renowned indigenous and international polo teams to compete for highly coveted trophies at the Lagos Polo Club Ikoyi.
Widely revered as the Sport of Kings, Polo was introduced in 1904 by British Naval Officers, the sport was first played on an air strip that was shared between the Lagos Polo Club and the Ikoyi Club. The Lagos Polo Club, like the city in which it is located, developed rapidly and became the premier polo club in the country. Although the composition of its members has changed over time—from British Naval Officers to Expatriates and Senior Civil Servants—the club has retained its status as Nigeria’s leading polo club. Over the years, Lagos International Polo Tournament has hosted reputable personalities such as His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and Polo greats like Alphonso Pieres, Gonzalo Pieres and Alan Kent.
This year’s event will see both Nigerian and foreign teams compete in four main cups namely Silver Cup, Open Cup, Lagos Low Cup and Majekodunmi Cup. Some of the players expected to light up the tournament include Manuel Crespo, a seven-goaler from Argentina; South Africa’s Tom De Bruin 7; and Alfredo Bigati, another 7 handicap player from Argentina. Other professionals expected include Santiago Cernadas 6, Adamu Atta, Babangida Hassan, Bello Buba, Santiago Astrada 6, Diego Whyte and Martin Juaregi. Polo enthusiast will also be treated to a variety of off-the-pitch activities ranging from thrilling performances by music stars, ladies day celebrations to an out-of-this-world experience at the exclusive GTBank Lounge where guests will be treated to epicurean cuisine and vintage wine.
According to Ade Laoye, President of the Lagos Polo Club, “To ensure a successful outing, we embarked on a massive infrastructure upgrade. We are confident that this year’s tournament will provide top class action and entertainment for all polo lovers”.
Commenting on the GTBank sponsored Polo tournament, Mr. Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc stated that “Our sponsorship of the 2017 NPA Lagos International Polo Tournament, which has grown over the years to become one of the most anticipated social and sporting events in Lagos, demonstrates our strong belief in the role of sports in developing and uniting our society. He further stated that, “From its profound origins rooted in noble values to the naturally evolving symbiosis between player and horse; Polo reflects pure passion, quality, competitiveness and fair play, which are among the values that have made GTBank a Proudly African and Truly International Financial Institution.
Guaranty Trust Bank plc is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, most especially in sports education. The GTBank Masters Cup as well as the Principals Cup tournaments in Lagos and Ogun states are some of the projects the bank has taken up in this regard.