The Accra Polo Club and their Ham counterparts from Great Britain are battle-ready for today’s Independence Cup thriller, which will be the highlight of a four-day Independence Polo Festival slated for the Accra Polo Grounds.
The British squad stormed Accra last Thursday fully confident of spoiling the 59th Independence anniversary party of their Ghanaian hosts, but the Captain of the Accra Polo Club, Mr Kwakye Dopoah-Dei, is hopeful of a home victory this afternoon.
Ghana will be represented by Damian Duncan (1)*, Maj Justin Butah (-1), Ayipa (0) and Chris Mckenzie (6), while the Londoners will feature Charles Schrager* (0), Ollie Hipwood (5), Raphael Singh (1) and Charlotte Christodoulou (0).
Ghana and Great Britain, represented by the two clubs, play each other home and away annually and the Ghanaians won the last encounter in the UK last year. This year’s home leg coincides with Ghana’s Independence Day which falls tomorrow and this year both teams have agreed to play four games over the weekend, instead of the customary one-off duel.
The matches will be played at 6-goal level, with each team fielding a professional player of 5 goals and above. This is above the level of polo ordinarily played in Ghana and will ensure that the games are fast-paced, exciting and with skills and thrills to entertain the crowd.
Each team will have a professional player as the cornerstone, and for the Ham Great Britain team, Ollie Hipwood (5), son of legendary England Polo Captain, Howard Hipwood, will be their professional player, while the Ghanaian team will have Chris Mckenzie (6), son of legendary South African Polo Captain, Buster Mckenzie, as their professional player.
The main matches will start at 4p.m. each day, and will be preceded by two curtain-raisers by youth and beginner players at 3p.m.
The tournament took off yesterday with the Friendship Cup and continues tomorrow with the PW St Patrick’s Cup match between Young Ghana and Great Britain. The climax will be on Monday when Vanguard Group Ghana and Great Britain vie for the Trustees’ Cup in another interesting encounter.