BY Kevin Mapasure
The Zimbabwe national polo team is targeting silverware at the Africa Cup that will be staged in South Africa this weekend following their success against Kenya in a Titan Law Polo International played at Thorne Park Polo Ground at the weekend.
Zimbabwe claimed the main prize following a 6-4 win on Friday, which was followed with a 10-6 triumph draw on Saturday.
Captain Corey Meikle and Richard Brown both scored hat tricks on Friday to give Zimbabwe the win before the former hit another treble on Saturday, but overall, he finished one goal behind Kenya’s Archie Voorspuy who had seven goals over the tournament.
Zimbabwe’s team also had Paul Johnson and Thomas Weed, while Kenya had a mixture of two ladies and two men in their team.
The Saturday match was fiercely contested and Zimbabwe felt it was good preparation for the Africa Cup where they will encounter hosts Nigeria and Zambia
Last year, Zimbabwe finished second at the event, but Polo Association of Zimbabwe president Bob Crossely feels that this time they could go all the way go and bring back the trophy.
“The game was very exciting. We had quite a strong Zimbabwean side. I think it was a very hard and well fought game. I am pleased that Zimbabwe managed to win,” he said. “Now, we are looking ahead to the Africa Cup. Last year, we finished second following a bad start because we were not used to the horses. But once we sorted our issues with the horses, we played well. This time, we are looking to try and win the trophy.”
He paid tribute to their sponsors, Titan law, owned by prominent lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa.
”Gerald has been a great supporter of ours. He is taking the team down to South Africa at the weekend. Titan Law is a great sponsor in sport. They do rugby and Polo. Mhlotshwa likes to entertain big his clients in sport.”
Polo Association of Zimbabwe is looking to incorporate more blacks into the sport.
“We are bringing in a lot of indigenous people into the game. We have a lot of good black players coming through. It’s a new sport to them, but they have a good eye for the ball. We are just teaching some of them how to ride the horses. It’s not a cheap sport. That’s the problem so we are lending horses to guys that have interest in the sport.”
The Zimbabwe polo captain said he was pleased with the performance against Kenya as they look ahead to the weekend challenge.
“It was a good game against the Kenyans. They were fierce competition. They were very physical and marked us well. But towards the end, we managed to make use of home advantage and ran away with it in the end,” he said. “The strategy was to nullify their best players. We didn’t manage to do that at the start, but towards the end we managed. Next is the Africa Cup, and hopefully we can do well in South Africa. So, this tournament against Kenya has prepared us for what’s coming next.