By Chinenye Anuforo
First stage of the prestigious 2021 UNICEF Charity Shield polo tourney climaxed on high with triumphs for Fifth Chukker and Intershelter teams as the international charity event enters its final stages Tuesday, with nine team jostling for honours.
Home fans favourites, fifth Chukkers handed a thumping 11-7 defeat over hard fighting Jos Malcomines, to clinch the glittering Access Bank Cup, just Intershelter secured a closed 6-4 victory for their first UNICEF Cup title.
Both finals that were decided before a capacity crowd at the foremost Kangimi Resort in Kaduna saw Fifth Chukker scoring three quick goals in the opening chukka and go all the way for another Access Bank Cup title.
In contrast, the UNICEF Cup finals was a tense back and forth clash that went all the way to the final chukka before Tata Ali Kura pulled away Intershelter with two late goals against their resilience Sublime opponents, to separate the winners.
The grand finale stage of the international that has raised has raised over 100 million in funds to support UNICEF projects for vulnerable children and the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Kaduna State and its environs, promises to be more exciting as nine equally match teams vie for honours.
Three teams, including many times champions, Access Bank team, last year finalist, Malcomines and Barbedos jostling for the event biggest prize, the Charity Shield, while six ambitious teams would lock in a trench war for the Usman Dantata Cup. Major highlight of the opening stage of the annual charity event this year, was undoubtedly the Children Day celebration with the First Lady of Kaduna State, Hajia Aisha Ummi el-Rufai as the Mother of the Day.
The First Lady, who celebrated the Children Day with school pupils from selected school around Kaduna, thumbs up the partners for using the Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield polo platform to enhance the educational and health well being of children in a most special way.
“There is an important need for both private and public sectors to do a lot more in support of the Nigerian child, particularly the orphans and vulnerable children to enable them look forward to a better tomorrow,” the Kaduna State First Lady added.