Eighteen polo teams from across Nigeria are set to compete in the 2019 Access Bank-UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament which gallops off at the Fifth Chukker Lawns of Kangimi Resort, Kaduna from June 6 to 15.
Victor Etuokwu, executive director, retail banking, Access Bank Plc, who announced the dates for the annual tournament in Lagos on Tuesday, said the regular teams as well as fierce rivals and a few ambitious new comers would compete in three broad cup categories with the high stake Charity Shield leading the pack that include the Access Bank Cup, newly introduced Usman Dantata Cup and the UNICEF Cup that attracts the largest competitors.
“The first stage will pitch 14 teams jostling for the UNICEF and the Usman Dantata Cup respectively, while the second stage promises to be a thrilling experience as six teams loaded with foreign professionals will battle for Access Bank Cup and the event’s biggest prize, Charity Shield,” Etuokwu said.
The executive director also said Access Bank Plc and its partners had committed to the construction of 60 fully-equipped classroom blocks for school children in Kaduna State.
“This project that would usher a new education system in Kaduna State is a contribution by Access Bank and our partners UNICEF, Fifth Chukker Polo & Country Club and other individuals with a view to sustaining the charity platform,” he said.
“The project, which is 70 per cent complete, will admit a record 12,600 orphans and less privileged children across rural communities in the state on a two-shift sessions of morning and evening and would have the opportunity of studying with facilities comparable to the best in the world.
Meanwhile, Events and Project Development Manager of Fifth Chukker, Barbara Zing, says May 29 and June 12 have been set aside to celebrate children as the highlight of the Kaduna tournament which ranks among the biggest charity polo events in Africa.
“Food and art exhibitions have been added to the package to make the prestigious fiesta exciting and special for the participants, invited guests and polo buffs,” Zing said.
According to her, “Fifth Chukker is proud to continue in its development of this established partnership with Access Bank and UNICEF. As we raise the bar in Nigerian polo and capture a truly international following, the charity work would follow naturally.”