CEMENTING IT as the Sport of Kings", as the game of polo is labelled, in a society that characterises its glamorous association where one may not immediately recognise that the equestrian sport has incredibly effective tools to inspire, educate, and motivate need-based polo players.
In the heart of Sandton however, at the Inanda Club, a shift is happening.
Breaking down the narrative of exclusivity that surrounds the sport, Sunday 28 July 2019 marks an unearthing future for aspirant polo players who will participate in the Inanda Development Cup, brought to you by Aon, a platform dedicated to talented and underprivileged players.
Demonstrating discipline and commitment to the sport, Joe Sello (-1) Thokozane Zondo (1) Donono Lithula (2) and Zompie Tsotesti (2) will compete in a three-day tournament.
“The strong development component of the cup is of great importance as it introduces a diverse group of young, up and coming South African talent to the world of polo. As an organisation we believe in empowering this possibility,” states Leo Morwe CHRO & Regional Executive at Aon South Africa.
Zompie Tsotesti, born from the success of the Inanda Development Programme, has seen much success through the initiative, playing in renowned tournaments such as the Cell C Inanda Africa Cup and passing on the baton to the likes of Thokozane Zondo, whose own introduction to polo came while working for Jimmy Uys, a seasoned polo player.
Born and raised in Bergville Kwa-Zulu natal, tending to farm grounds, Zondo couldn’t help but admire horses on the farm. Through learning how to ride and play, he soon became a popular player amongst his peers, receiving the Most Valued Player Award at the 2016 Inanda Club Development Cup. Beyond his own polo lessons, with a passion to promote empowerment and positivity, he yearned to teach youth from disadvantaged backgrounds the basic skills of polo, how to ride and care for ponies. Zondo soon provided the opportunities that he was given to the young generation.
The idea of playing polo for Donono Lithula was divine but for him it was just a far-fetched dream, up until the age of 22 when he began to ride horses; joining Bropolo at the end of the 2014 season as a young horse rider. A natural horseman, Lithula has since been unstoppable, gathering numerous Most Valued Player (MVP) titles. For him, polo is not just a game but a foundation to open doors and transform the lives of the disadvantaged.
Polo is a sport that requires an extensive amount of practice, throwing in its complexities, polo becomes a rough and hard sport that requires both precision and tactics as well as gladiatorial combativeness. Through the years of working at a nearby farm of his home town of Cadwallon for 17 years, Joe Sello has now gathered the courage to take on the sport. Under the mentorship of Gareth Evans, he is sure to run rings around professional polo players.
“Since 2015 the Inanda Development Cup has given a platform to aspirant polo players to participate in the sport offering the opportunity of becoming true professionals. Showcasing not only the sport of polo, but most importantly, the development of players who serve as motivation in changing the perception of the sport” Craig James, Inanda Club Polo Manager
#Throwback Last year the grand finale match for the Inanda Development Cup was between rivals Rockwood and African Polistas, a hard-fought battle with both sides determined to provide an entertaining and energetic match. The game closed in a draw, 5-all, but a handicap rule kicked in with Rockwood taking the match.
Event: Inanda Development Cup 2019
Dates: Sunday, 28 July 2019
Time: 10:00 – 18:00
Venue: Inanda Club, Forrest Road, Inanda, Sandton
Hospitality tickets are available from the Mason Company
Public tickets, R100 – per person will be available at the gate on event day while those wishing to include a BBQ option can expect to pay R280 per person.
Image (Its time for youngsters at this years’ Inanda Development Cup).