Zedan Polo became the new HH President of the UAE Polo Cup champions tonight (Friday) thanks largely to their star Argentine player, Ignacio “Nachi’ Heguy who claimed his third seven-goal haul of the tournament in a 9-6 final score.
Saudi Arabian outfit Zedan’s clash with recent Dubai Gold Polo Cup champions, Habtoor was a much-anticipated game that was set up after both sides progressed through the tournament unbeaten.
In the end Zedan emerged the 9-6 winners but Dubai-based Habtoor made them fight for every goal.
Yet Zedan’s superior firepower thanks to their eight-goal Argentine, Heguy, a man who has won the great Argentine Open tournament four times, told on the gutsy Habtoor side.
Heguy and teammate Matias Logioco both scored for Zedan in the first of the four chukkers while Guillermo Cutino got one back for Habtoor. In the second period Heguy came alive, scoring a flurry of three goals while Habtoor’’s Fran Elizalde got one. That meant Zedan started the third chukker 5-2 and Habtoor knew that they could not afford to let the Saudi side draw any further ahead.
Determined play from Habtoor kept the prolific Heguy down to one goal in the third chukker, while Elizalde scored two but Heguy was back to his goalscoring ways in the fourth chukker, scoring a brace while Logioco also scored again for Habtoor.
Habtoor’s Elizalde scored twice more to bring his goal tally to an impressive five for the game, but it was not enough to win them the game and when the claxon went Zedan were four goals ahead.
Unsurprisingly, Heguy was named most valuable player and also claimed the prize for highest goal scorer among the professionals with 28 goals for the tournament.
The highest goal scorer among the amateur ranks was Zedan’s patron, Amr Zedan who scored four.
Heguy, who has only been playing with his team for one season, said he had gelled well with his fellow players.
"I am very happy to have been able to help my team win this event but it is a team effort,” he said. “I think the fact that our patron was also the highest amateur goal scorer demonstrates how much strength we have across the team, and the fact that we are beginning to play together as a unit.
“This has been a great season for us and we are so happy to have won the biggest tournament of the year. Now we look forward to playing in more tournaments together.”
Ghantoot Land Rover, who as defending champions in this tournament lost their title crown to Zedan, did pick up the consolation of victory in the subsidiary final against Dubai team, Bin Drai.
In a match that finished 4-2 to the hosts, Ghantoot’s seven-goal professional, Hugo Barabucci scored a hat trick while Emirati, Ahmed al Nueimi, scored once. Bin Drai’s two goals both came in the third chukker from Nicolas Petracchi and team patron, Rashid bin Drai.
“We knew this tournament was going to be tough. After the disappointment of not making the grand final we were determined that we should win the subsidiary final,” said Barabucci. “We worked very hard for this and the result is there on the scoreboard.”
“It has been fantastic to be a part of this tournament and I'm happy we ended it with a win.”
The HH President of the UAE Polo Cup is held every year under the patronage of HH Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club and presented by ADCB.
The event was attended by a number of members of the UAE Royal family, including HH Sheikh Theyab Bin Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Sultan Bin Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The two matches were watched by crowds of spectators who attended the event, which in addition to providing top -level polo, also presented the opportunity for a fun family day out.
“It was pleasing to see so many people here today, said HE Saeed Bin Houfan Al Mansoori, Vice Chairman Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club. “We always try to make the sport of polo as accessible as we can and we feel that by throwing open our gates to the general public for our biggest events, we are promoting this historic sport to the people of the UAE.
“The matches that we have seen here today confirm to me that polo in the UAE is going from strength-to-strength and I would like to thank our sponsors and the participating teams for making it such a memorable event.”
The HH President of UAE Polo Cup was presented by ADCB, with Land Rover Premier Motors providing the official car. It was supported by Summerland Hotel & Resort, Bespoke Italia, Carluccio’s, Fiji Water and Prisa Polo.
1Abdullah B. Desmal0
Abu Dhabi (11)
1Faris Al Yabhouni0
2Alfredo Cappella 5
Bin Drai (13)
1Rashid Bin Drai 0
2Nicolas Petracchi 4
3Tomas Iriarte 4
4Vieri Antinori 5
Desert Palm (12)
2Ian Mathew Lodder3
Ghantoot Land Rover (12)
1Ahmed Al Neaimi0
1Mohammed Al Habtoor0
1Amr Zedan 0
2Manuel Elizalde 2
4Ignacio "Nachi" Heguy8