SOUTH AFRICAN POLO GETS BACK IN THE SADDLE WITH TEST AGAINST ARGENTINA
South African and Argentinian farm-boys grow into horsemen competing for international polo honours.
Among the sports bouncing back from isolation these last thirty months is polo and with the Argentinean team touring here for a test against South Africa, manager of the host club Craig James was a busy guy.
“This is our first event where we will have in-person interaction again. The place is abuzz and it’s really, really exciting,” comments Craig.
He adds, “To host an event like this takes a lot of running around. One of our key focusses is finding horses that are suitable to play the match for the day. The visitors don’t travel with their horses – coming from Argentina it’s an already long flight as it is, and having to move their own personal horses from there would be impossible.”
The Aon Inanda International is one of the most eagerly awaited highlights on the sport, fashion and entertainment calendars. Surrounded by the richest square mile on the African continent, spectators enjoy some nail-biting Polo action.
The club has hosted many internationals over the decades and current Captain Tom De Bruin couldn’t wait to resume competition.
“We’re very happy to be back on our home ground here. It’s nice to be back in the green and gold and being able to compete at a high competitive level,” says Tom.
Watching the two development teams riding out was a chance to grasp the basics of the sport.
Supporting several jobs, polo also invests in its future with development teams like the one captained by Bafana Skhosana.
With the national anthems sung, the reckoning got under way and there was as much competition off the field as on, actress and presenter Mbali Nkosi a crowd favourite.
“I’m super excited because today we’ve got South Africa versus Argentina, and the last time we won so I want us to win again so we can keep that track record.” comments Mbali.
Even those who came for the fashion got swept up in the on field action, hoping South Africa could pull off a hat-trick, but in the end the South Americans took it.
“Look, it was a great game. Argentina outplayed us today and they had our number but for South African polo it’s really good to play against the best players in the world from Argentina and it was really well supported. We have to really say thank you to the sponsors who are behind SA polo and Inanda for helping to keep the game alive in South Africa,” comments Tom.
“Amazing efforts by both teams. Argentina coming out tops in the end and South Africa putting on a massive effort to try and slow the boys down. From Inanda, we are super proud to have put on a match of this level. Twenty three goal polo anywhere in the world is something very, very special and to have it played on the continent, here in Jozi at the Inanda Club, and having so many beautiful faces come and watch the game in person again… Everyone had a fantastic time and we look forward to doing this again in 2023,” said Craig in closing.
If only all contests were settled by such basic tests, with the results as graciously accepted.