The governor BOU was there, so was Mondo Kagonyera and so were we . The 2012 Nile Gold Polo invitational at the Kakira Nile polo club was a decent affair-to put it very mildly. The polo field is very large, too large for the 8 horses that were on it, it would seem. But in the heat of the game with horses galloping at break neck speed, the need for space becomes clear.
If you have not been to Kakira before you would be amazed at the level of organisation they have going on. One person joked that this might be the dream Musisi has for Kampala city.
Arriving at the pitch was easy; the way was marked by ribbons in Nile gold hues. There were signs around the grass warning us to ‘stay off the grass at all times’. This put a dent in the plans of those who were looking forward to marching on to the grass at half time. There were tents from some of the sponsors and a bit of music playing from the speakers.
We arrived mid game on Saturday. The crowd was still a bit thin but there was an air of anticipation. Even those who had come to just mingle and look at horses were thrilled when the horses were racing about and the players were swinging their sticks and directing the ball to their respective goals. It became clear when there were a few tussles here and there that the game can get a bit dangerous. Horses are big and fast and there are 8 of them chasing after one tiny ball. The players were dressed in white pants, riding boots, helmets and a shirt the colour of their team.
Contrary to what some may think, there were a few avid followers of the game who cheered and whose voices fell in disappointment when their players did not score. The sporting spirit was high, but there wasn’t the fanaticism of football. No one tore their huts off or stomped up and down when they lost.
Although the rules were a little confusing, it was easy for anyone to follow the game partly because the goal posts were marked clearly and because the colourful sounding commentators kept dropping crumbs for us to follow; “He is changing his pony so the team is waiting to resume the game, ordinarily, the game would go on without him but we are doing things a bit differently today”, “when choosing a polo pony, look out for…”
There was quite a bit of planning that went into this, topmost being transporting horses from Nairobi, they travel by road, days prior to the event in large trucks.
Day one was concluded with Citibank civicon team beating Airtel, and Midcom beating Sheraton.
On Sunday, there were more people, and to their credit, the ladies and gentlemen took the dress code to heart. It is normally high fashion. I can go as far as to say that there was no one in jeans, except for maybe the photographers. There were hats, sun dresses and white suits and polo shirts on the men.
The light drizzle only held up the programme a bit. The day’s program was losers against losers and winners against winners. A bit harsh I thought, but no one seemed to mind being called losers. Sunday’s was a far more exciting game than the previous day’s although with a far less enthusiastic commentator. Citibank civicon won the cup with 5-4 against Midcom.
The day was concluded with an air show and a prize giving. The winners, sponsors and security team were awarded for their fantastic endeavours. Petunia won the prize for best pony and Leila Sebunya won best dressed woman in a blue dress, red hat and red shoes. James in an all white suit won for best man, they were awarded with dinner for two at Ujo Japanese restaurant. Had I known that the prize would be a date with him, I might have taken more care while picking my dress.