LAGOS (Reuters) – When polo involves Lagos, the champagne flows and exuberant vogue colours adorn the inexperienced fields.
Whereas most Nigerians would by no means commerce their love of soccer, the industrial capital nonetheless hosts the largest polo match in West Africa, with trophies fiercely disputed towards a backdrop of glitz and glamour for the higher class.
“Polo has shifted from simply the sports activities to a vogue assertion,” stated Mudrakat Alabi-Macfoy, carrying an ethereal white kaftan with a multi-colored floral necklace and head wrap on the Lagos Polo Membership.
“For me it’s one thing enjoyable, one thing playful, one thing whimsical, one thing snug … a little bit of colour, a little bit of pop,” stated Alabi-Macfoy, who works as a lawyer when not watching polo.
In a nation with the world’s highest variety of individuals in excessive poverty, the often-dubbed “sport of kings” is prohibitively costly for almost all.
First launched by British colonial servicemen, polo has been performed in Nigeria for over 100 years and practically all of the groups are owned by native multi-millionaires.
“It’s an costly sport as a result of, you recognize, your horses are like infants,” stated Koyinsola Owoeye, who has been enjoying polo since 2007, seduced by his father’s love of the game.
A horse can price about $40,000 – then there’s repairs.
“Upkeep isn’t straightforward. As we speak they are often properly, tomorrow they’ll have, you recognize, malaria, fever, colic, and even get injured on the sector or on their option to the match,” Owoeye stated.
The 2019 Lagos Worldwide Polo Match, which wound up on Sunday, fielded 33 groups from Nigeria, Argentina, South Africa, Kenya and the UK.
Reporting by Afolabi Sotunde, Nneka Chile and Seun Sanni in Lagos; Writing by Paul Carsten; Enhancing by Andrew Cawthorne