Passapotis vows to popularise polo. . . as Econet Platinum team wins Carrick Ambassadors Cup

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Econet Platinum polo team winners of the Carrick Ambassadors Cup

Chipo Sabeta
Bushman Rock Safaris managing director Jonathan Passapotis says he is looking to drive the popularity of the polo in Zimbabwe.

Simply put, polo is a team sport played on horseback. But it’s considered somewhat of an elitist sport in this country.

Passapotis has strong polo family background, and has a vision to see the sport widespread.

Polo is now third generation in the Passapotis family, as Jonathan’s grandfather used to play polo.

Speaking after this year’s Carrick Wealth Ambassadors Cup held over the weekend, Passapotis said he will commit time and effort for the development of polo in Zimbabwe.

“Polo is in my blood and I have learnt it from my elders. I also used to play polo.

“It will be interesting to enhance polo activities across the country for which we have planned to increase volume of polo activities as well as to improve the infrastructure as it will help in providing maximum opportunities to the youngsters and many generations to excel in this game,” said Passapotis.

“I feel that if we target schools to recognise polo as an official sport is another way to market polo to as many of Zimbabwe’s top schools as possible.”

“Polo, being an expensive sport, would require considerable funding making its accessibility to the masses difficult. It is also wise to increase this accessibility and to improve the skill capacities of individuals, encompassing grooming and horse care, farrier courses, coaching courses, veterinary health care and polo administration,” he added.

Passapostis said that there was no dearth of talent in the country but there was urgent need to provide best opportunities, facilities and infrastructure to the younger generation.

“We know there are a few polo grounds in the country. I believe if we improve them, like what we have been doing here at Bushman Rock Polo Club. I am confident this step will certainly improve standard of Zimbabwean polo.”

The Carrick Ambassadors Cup

On the pitch, four teams: Rift Valley, Premier Auto, Econet Platinum and Manokore battled it out for the Carrick Wealth Polo Cup over two days.

And out of those four teams, Econet Platinum beat Premier Auto, winning by 8-6 1/2 to lift the trophy. Zimbabwe has a history of world class achievements in polo. However, it is arguably one of the least known sports in the country, although it boasts of world-class achievements that have seen it ranked second in the world. Smart Kuusawa coming out of Thornpark Polo Club, is the only black Zimbabwean who plays polo professionally and carries a number of titles in this discipline

Announcing the goals set for this year, Passapotis said:

“The Bushman Rock Polo Club will contribute actively for the promotion of the game across the country.

“To date we have a number of people who have commenced with lessons and playing slow chukkas. We offer excellent amount of time dedicated to improving your polo skills and playing exciting chukkas.”

Despite the freezing temperatures, the third annual hosting of the Carrick Ambassadors Cup lived to its billing with a bigger and better crowd than ever.

Sponsored by international Wealth management firm Carrick Wealth and hosted by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Thorsten Hutter, the event delivered both on and off the field with a magnified environment of Zimbabwean polo, fashion, food and wine.

The Carrick Wealth Ambassadors Polo Cup also donated $1 000 towards the St Joseph’s House for Boys.

The establishment was founded upon realising that when the children from St Joseph’s home turned 18 years, they were no-longer legally allowed to stay at the home as they were now classified as adults. Hence, having nowhere else to go, some of the boys were ending up having to live on the streets.

Andrew Moore, Carrick Wealth Zimbabwe manager said Carrick Wealth was proud to sponsor the polo event and making a difference to the disadvantaged.

“Our support of the Cup also forms part of Carrick’s on-going corporate social initiative strategy to help improve the lives of those who through force of circumstance have been marginalised or disadvantaged.

“Our efforts is to help improve the lives of those who through force of circumstance have been marginalised or disadvantaged such as the St Joseph’s House for Boys,” he said.

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