Major General Haruna Momoh, deputy chief for policies and programs at Nigerian army headquarters, says the army plans to revitalize and reactivate its full-time participation in the game of polo.
Momoh said this in an interview with reporters on Sunday, while representing the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, at the opening ceremony of a proposed clubhouse for the Guards Polo Club.
The ceremony took place on the sidelines of the 11th ongoing edition of the Nigerian National Carnival Polo Tournament in Abuja, in which the Nigerian Army polo team plays alongside 28 other teams.
Journalists report that in this year’s edition a special cup known as ‘the COAS Cup’ was also instituted in honor of the Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
The Abuja-based Lintex polo team emerged as the COAS Cup winner after defeating the Hon. Ahmed Wadada led Keffi Ponies 6 goals to 3 goals on Saturday.
Momoh, who also serves as Director, General Staff Duties, said that the game of polo has always been the exclusive domain of the military, adding that their interest, however, waned as soon as civilians also became interested and involved.
“The Army owns the polo shirt. The game was introduced to the country in 1904 by British colonial military officers and it is a game that the Nigerian army has always pushed. However, we relaxed a bit when the civilian population became interested in the game.
“But a good thing that the current COAS has rightly decided to revitalize and reinvigorate the Nigerian army’s full-time participation in the game and that is why we are here today,” he said.
Momoh thanked COAS for its initiative and accomplishments thus far, and said the Army hoped to achieve better things in the sport.
“I have always passed through here but I never knew there was something like this until I entered today and it is all the work of the current COAS for which we must thank them,” he said, adding: “We are also expecting greater things.” happening in the game of polo as far as the Army is concerned.
“As you can see, a lot of developments are taking place. We have the Nigerian Army team here, who have gone through a series of trainings both locally and abroad.
“We recently participated in some matches in South Africa and Morocco. We are also building the headquarters of the Nigerian Army Polo Association (NAPA) here at the Guards Polo Club, which was opened in January by COAS.
“We also have the farms and ranches of the Nigerian Army Ltd. Horses are prepared there. So these are some of the developments that are currently happening, ”Momoh said.