Participants at the event included: the Gbong-Gwom Jos, Units, Beginners, Veteran Cup, and West Stream, respectively.
Governor Simon Lalong has been commended for his grassroots support program in the state and for encouraging peaceful coexistence.
The chairman, organizing committee of the 2016 Polo Club Tournament, Alh Salmanu M. Tilde, gave this disclosure at the Polo Club, which held in Jos North Local Government Area of the state during the week.
He said, the basic challenges being faced with polo tournament in Plateau state is due to the financial crisis in the country, particularly in the world in general, which made things very difficult for any company or individual to indicate interest for the sponsorship of the Polo game.
According to him, this year’s tournament was a very tedious job to organize, and commended Governor Simon Lalong for his effort towards assisting them financially, without which it wouldn’t have been feasible to hold the event because of the huge financial involvement.
He stressed that there are some companies like MTN, NASCO, and Grand Cereal, who had sponsored the tournament in time past, but that this year around, none except one of these companies came forward to render any sponsorship.
The chairman noted that, the 2016 Polo Tournament was organized by Grand Cereal Company only, adding that, “If you look around, the products are displayed everywhere; so, it’s an indication that no single one of the others came on board.”
He was emphatic that “Polo is a unifying factor. In 2010, at the height of Jos crisis, we tried to organize Polo Tournament tagged “Peace Tournament” sports in general, and polo cuts across tribes, religions, and ethnicity.”
He maintained that, “It is the only sports you see Muslims and Christians coming together to watch and support the same teams; a unifying factor in the state because anytime the game is on-going, it brings everyone together, irrespective of religious backgrounds.”
He urged the youth in the state to embrace polo sports by seeking the cooperation of their peer groups in the state to come and try what he called “the luck of polo.”
Alh Tilde decried the nonchalant attitude of the youths against the game of polo and tasked them to see so many opportunities that abound in the game and work towards increasing their well-being.
Meanwhile, the branch manager of Grand Cereal – Animals Feeds Limited, Mr Odunsi Folorunso, said the company used the polo game to showcase their new brand products to the market for horse.
He said, the polo club approached the management team towards assisting in the sponsorship, which was approved.
Mr Folorunso revealed that the company had spent huge amount of money to ensure that polo game season remains a side attraction to local and international players, especially the youths.
He said the animals feed, which include fish, poultry and horse feeds, remain the new vital product that can encourage horse riders to take advantage of their company.
According to him, the new brand of Grand Cereal Vital Feed is to meet the requirements of local and international consumptions.
“We are here to make sure that Grand Cereal promotes polo game in Nigeria to encourage grassroots participation of the sporting activities,” he added.
The Adamawa state coordinator of Poverty Eradication Programme, Mr Tanko Ayuba Audu, has reiterated government determination and willingness to invest more in polo game to encourage youths’ participation in the sports. He was speaking to journalists at the Jos Polo 2016 annual game in memory of founding fathers of the polo game in Nigeria.
According to him, the 36 state governments across the country have contributed positively to the growth and development of sports in Nigeria as panacea to peace building.
Mr Audu assured government’s readiness to give priority towards promoting grassroots sports and empowerment of youths to end irresponsible living.
He expressed his happiness with the number of Supporters Clubs that turn out to witness the Adamawa state polo team, which showed that the youth are embracing sports, and prayed to Almighty God to continue to sustain the tempo of the existing peace in the country, especially in the north-east, where crisis had hitherto paralyzed business activities, and that peace is gradually returning to the communities.
He said, “Polo game has brought together warrior factions to watch and entertain; so, it’s clear indication that people are prepared to leave together in harmony.”
According to him, “Many sports lovers traveled from far and near to witness this game of polo, which is shaping and manifesting oneness in us.”
The Adamawa governor, because of his love for polo, also mobilized his own polo team to actively come into plateau state and play. That alone is his readiness to support the youths in sports.