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Monday, June 24, 2024

Sola shines in the Threadneedle Gold Cup

by Anthony Gebrayel

The winning team Abu Dhabi celebrating after the match
© Al Habtoor Group
© Al Habtoor Group
© Al Habtoor Group

The 21-year-old Argentinean polo player, Facundo Sola stole the show by scoring eight goals for Abu Dhabi, which won 9-7 in the entertaining final of the Threadneedle Gold Cup match

There was no doubting the star of the Threadneedle Gold Cup. From the moment he mounted his pony - Hormiga, Facundo Sola of the Abu Dhabi polo team shone in the final of the Threadneedle Polo Gold Cup, held at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club on March 11, 2011. However it was the second half of the match in which he really stood out.

Up until the fourth and final chukker, things were evenly matched between the two teams as they shared the spoils 6-6. Sola had already made an impression even in those three chukkers, scoring five goals - three in the first and another two in the third.

And in the fourth he showed his true colours. Managing an amazing eight of his team’s 9-7 goals against the Dubai Falcons, led by Rashid Bin Drai, the 21-year-old professional player, from Argentina, seemed to be in the right place at the right time, from start to finish. In fact, he went on a three-goal blast that knocked the wind out of his opponents.

Sultan Al Habtoor, the President of the Al Habtoor Group, was joined by Humaid Bin Drai in presenting the awards to the winners after the match. The young Dubai Falcons skipper Bin Drai noted Sola’s obvious skill. "Honestly, we don’t know what hit us in that fourth chukka. Sola single-handedly

killed us with those goals,” he commented. Mattar Al Yabhouni, the manager of the Abu Dhabi team, was effusive in his praise for the youngster. “Winning a tournament in a debut is a real pleasure, but to travel back with the feeling that our team is in such young hands is even more of a satisfaction,” he said, “This is about a sport we all love; and our team will be back to defend the title next year,” he added. Earlier Ghantoot Polo had secured a consolation third place with a hard-fought 8-7 win against DCC Sumaya.

Threadneedle, a 15-goal handicap tournament, was sponsored by La Martina, Bentley Emirates and Threadneedle Investments. It was held under the patronage of Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. A total of eight teams from across the UAE took part in this year’s tournament.

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