Johannesburg – The ‘not to be missed’ Cell C Inanda Africa Cup Polo Tournament set within Johannesburg’s winter social and sporting calendar took place on Sunday, 26 August 2018 at the iconic Inanda Club, Sandton.
Polo enthusiasts, business elites, and some of Africa’s A-list celebrities, dressed in their own rendition of “Africa Beats”, witnessed exceptional horsemanship portrayed by African Polo Teams in a clash for the championship title.
This year’s tournament featured 8 teams participating in over 12 high octane games over 3 days of bumper-to bumper action. As anticipated, the fiesta provided a perfect platform for the best of African polo display. At the end of the clash, the South African team, Verdant Capital, with a home ground advantage, edged STL Nigeria to win the event’s biggest prize, the coveted Cell C Inanda Africa Cup Trophy.
In a game full of drama and thrills, Verdant Capital found themselves down against the STL Nigeria team with a score 0- 2 in the first chukka. The audience was kept on their feet as STL Nigeria tried to maintain their lead and resisted their opponent’s advances by intensifying their defence until the final call, but Verdant Capital dominated the game into the final chukka with a final score of 5-3 goals, leading to their victory. The fast-paced plate final between Titan Law – Zimbabwe and Zambian, Chipopolo Team saw Titan Law win by 11 goals to 8.
The 2018 Cell C Inanda Africa Cup Most Valued Male Player was awarded to Verdant Capital Captain Johan du Preez.
The Best Polo Pony, was awarded to Cremora owned by Campbell Macnab ridden by LeRoux Hendriks and the Highveld Horse Care Unit Best String was won by Johan van Reenen.
Ritali Cronje, from team Chipolopolo, received the Best Female Participant prize for the tournament, a closely contested win against Nigerian female professional polo player Neku Atawodi-Edun from the Cell C African Rovers. The grand prize awarded to Ritali was a Peacock Sapphire ring from Shiny Rock Polished.
The Best Dressed Female was awarded to Nwabisa Bunde (SA), the Best Dressed Male, Malusi Nkhathi (SA) and the Best Dressed Couple, Nonhlanhla and Chukwe Peters (Nigeria) and Best Dressed to the theme, sisters Slindile and Sinabo Bongwe (SA).
The power of the horse as an international language is one of the main characters behind the Cell C Inanda Africa Cup. Attracting the continent’s greatest players and their first-class string of ponies, spectators were able to appreciate fully the horsemanship speed and gladiatorial nature of polo. The thrill and excitement of the horses galloping on the lawns of Inanda Club is a vision to remember.
A first time polo player, the young star, 12-year-old Zac Levy (-2) who was introduced to the game of polo as recently as 18 months ago comments, “The adrenaline I feel when I score a goal and that feeling of satisfaction I get when I know I’ve given it my best on the field is like no other.”
“The Cell C Inanda Africa Cup has evolved throughout the years, offering aficionados and society figures a different experience with each year’s occurrence; emphasizing the remarkable relationships formed between the highly skilled polo ponies and the players on the field.” – Paul Oosthuizen, Inanda Club General Manager.
The host and official face of the Cell C Inanda Africa Cup, Lalla Hirayama, one of the most recognised celebrities in South Africa, ensured that the most stylish and sophisticated guests present, received their recognition by announcing the category winners for the best dressed male, female and couple and who all received the wonderful prizes on offer from L’Oreal, La Martina, Vanity Mobile Beauty Bar, Pedro Portia Cigar Lounge, Nova Gifting, Aluta Sunglasses, Elta Accessories, Highveld Horse Unit, and Shiny Rock Polished.
The Inanda Polo Room added an extraordinary experience for fashion lovers on the day with an exclusive designer showcase from Maxhosa by Laduma, XV By Ntando Ngwenya, Sober, Ledikana, Black Coffee, Ephymol, Clive Rundle and Marianne Fassler.
“This year has been a truly exceptional experience for both attendees, players and our club members. The enthusiasm showed both on and off the field was widely noticeable throughout the day. We are looking forward to yet another distinct polo tournament next year.” – Craig James.