NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – A match winning performance from teenage sensational Amani Nzomo guided Four of a Kind to win the 2019 edition of the Maria Bencivenga Polo tournament at the Nairobi Polo Club on Sunday.
Amani scored two goals as Four of a Kind defeated Murban Polo 4-1, in the two-day tournament that saw the 13-year old scooping the Most Valuable Player trophy.
The secret to the drastic improvement to the prodigy’s game has been highly attributed to the 10-day coaching by Santiago Schweitzer, 5 goal Argentine professional, in the South American capital, Buenos Aires last month.
“People have been asking why my game has improved recently more so in the ongoing pre-season. I was privileged to be taught by one of the best polo players while we were in Argentina in December.
“One of the biggest teachings I got from him is to always anticipate, that way you are a step further from your opponents,” the petite player who hammered in seven goals in two matches deadpanned.
The -0.5 handicapped boy who has aspirations of becoming a 5 goaler sometime turned alongside one goaler Sammy Kiarie, Jamie Hayward (0.5) and Silke Hampson (-1.5).
Murban comprised of (Moses Wainga (0.5), two goaler Vishal Somalia, Magda Jorkowieck (-1.5) and Simon Muchene (-1.5).
Kiarie opened the scoring in first chukka for a 1-0 advantage. Amani sped off from a melee to connect to a Hampson pass and softly slotted in his first before completing his double two minutes and 18 seconds later in the second period.
Upon resumption, Murban mounted a watertight defense, cutting out Kiarie and Amani as Wainga scored a consolation from a 60 yard spot shot for 3-1. Kiarie continued to pile misery on Murban with a goal in the fourth chukka.
On their way to the finals, Four Of A Kind defeated Governors Camp 6-2. While trailing 1-2 to Governors Camp, Amani steered Murban to winning by scoring five. Murban on the other hand beat White Cap 3F-3.
Murban captain Vishal Somalia who coincidentally lost his third final in a row thanked his teammate3s for m gallant show which unfortunately could not match the victors on the day.
“I want to sincerely thank my teammates for combining so well in the tournament, both the high and low handicap players played so well, Magda Jorkowieck, for instance played so well, I feel, she did not get the limelight but she worked hard all through,” he narrated.
“We missed penalties from 30-yards, which could have given us a comfortable win, but that is part of the game.
It should be noted that our opponents in the final were very tactical and clinical, Jamie Hayward (0.5) marked and nullified me out of the game, that effectively made him a two goal player for the day,” recalled Vishal.
“The effect of that was that Amani was given lots of space and time to control the match, the boy is rapidly growing in the game with great potential, and therefore he duly punished us,” Vishal who had previously lost in the Soldiers Salute and Davies Cup finals explained.
En route to the final, Four of a Kind had to come from 2-1 down to beat Governors Camp 6-2, a match that was remembered fro a brave show from little Amani who scored 5 goals in the last chukka to send his side to the final.
“Saturday was the turning point for us and I’m glad we prevailed. I must be grateful to Jamie. He did a great deal cutting out Vishal for us. I don’t think he touched the ball at all,” said the sensational Amani.
“It was important for me to win the Maria Bencivenga trophy because I won it last year with Samurai alongside my siblings and dad,” he added.
Governors Camp was third after thwarting White Cap 5-4.5. As Attention now shifts to the final tournament of the pre-season the chairman’s cup that will be held next weekend at the same venue, Vishal, will be hoping not to be on the losing side once again.
-By Amos Abuga-