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Nigeria: Access Bank Kicks Out HIV/Aids

Access Bank Plc last week in Kaduna, at the Fifth Chukker Polo Resort, showed how a determined responsible lifestyle will lead to an ultimate triumph over the pandemic, HIV/AIDS, when its team at the on-going Emir of Katsina Charity Shield Polo Tournament defeated their Barbedos opponents by 12 goals to 8, despite a 2- goal handicap advantage given to them.

The Access Bank team, which comprised Hamisu Buba +5 handicap, Adamu Atta +4 handicap, Augustin Von Wermick +5 and Miguel Pando +5 showed in no unclear terms their desire to emerge the tournament's champion, though appearing for the first time, by defeating an equally formidable Barbedos side, which paraded Kasim Bukar +2, Dawule Baba +4, Babangida Hassan +4 and Diego White +7. The Access Bank team will play MRS of Lagos on Thursday, while the Barbedos team will take on Kano Titans.

The match kick-started this year's Emir of Katsina Charity Shield Polo tournament sponsored by Access Bank to the tune of N20 million. The Charity Shield which offers N4 million in prize money, will pitch four evenly matched Nigerian high-goal teams in a week-long nerve- racking polo showdown. Access Bank's sponsorship of the tournament is as a result of the similarities in the tournament's objective and the bank's relentless campaign against the pandemic, HIV/AIDS in our society.The tournament was organised in partnership with UNICEF because of its role in the global campaign against HIV/AIDS, particularly as it affects the children population.

The Emir of Katsina Charity Shield is an initiative benefitting non-governmental organisations. Aside from UNICEF, other beneficiaries of the tournament include: The Human Development Foundation of Nigeria (HDFN), the Kaduna State Special Education School and the Federation of Muslim Women in Nigeria. Proceeds from sales of memorabilia at this year's tournament and N6 million from Access Bank donation will be used to support UNICEF in its campaign against HIV/AIDS. Access Bank has committed to support the tournament for the next four years.

The Charity Shield has grown to become one of the major events for which Fifth Chukker resort is known. The event is named after His Royal Highness, Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir Usman, who was the pillar of the Nigerian polo for over 50 years. The late Emir became the Life President of the Nigerian Polo Association (NPA), after retiring from the game as +5 player to ascend the throne in 1981, following the passing away of his father, who was a legend of the game, having achieved a record +7 handicap.

The tournament has grown to become a major attraction to international Polo players from countries like the United States of America, Argentina and South Africa while Polo big names in Nigeria take advantage of the tournament to rekindle their rivalry.

This year's tournament has been billed to be the most competitive polo tournament in the country as four fortified high-goal teams parading all the country's best polo players from the Access Bank team, Barbedos team, Lagos MRS and Kano Titans are participating in the 2008 Charity Shield rumble.

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