New Talent Coming for High Goal Polo.
Antony Fanshawe, polo manager at Guards Polo Club, recently revealed his thoughts about how high goal polo in the UK could be about to change for the better.
Antony believes that if English polo and patrons were to sign up some of the young Argentine players for the high goal it could herald a change at the top end of the sport which is currently being dominated by two teams – Dubai and King Power. The dominance of the two teams needs to be challenged and Antony believes there are many young players that are capable of doing this and should be “bloodied into the English high goal season.”
“There are very young players in Argentina capable of playing here. Polo is an expensive game and I don’t think potential patrons have realised there’s an awful lot of 20-25 year olds in Argentina on 6 or 7 goals who would come in a lot cheaper than the people who are here right now… The next generation have just started to come.”
“There are a number of credible additions who could make the leap. For example, the 21-year-old 8-goal player Alfredo Capella, and others such as Juan Martin Zubia, Fran Rodriguez Mera, Jero del Carril, Bartolome Castañola Jr and many others who could be the kind of players who create additional teams in the high goal. They are not playing in Europe and could make up a few teams that could give the likes of Adolfo Cambiaso a good run for his money,” explains Fanshawe. “I don’t think the 40-year-olds should move aside, but if patrons realised this I think we could draw some back in and change the game.”
“Teams would also be cheaper,” reasons Fanshawe. “These guys are desperate to play, and I think the sport in England may be missing out on an opportunity. The players of the last 10 to 15 years are still there. The fact that Adolfo Cambiaso is still there – don’t get me wrong, his game is still exceptional and it’s amazing that a 42 year old can still be at the top of his game and I respect that – but in my view the 18-goal patrons could be playing in the high goal on the same budget if they went for some of these younger guys.”
“The way the market works is that they are cheaper. The price has been creeping up for 10 years and no one is trying to use some of these young guys, playing off 6 and 7, who can hit the ball the length of the field. Why isn’t Capella, and others, in England? Why aren’t they here? For me, they have never been asked.”
Look back in history and Cambiaso and Lolo Castagnola started out in the high goal in England at the age of 16. Cambiaso was quite brilliant even in his first season in England in the Gold Cup with Kerry Packer’s Ellerston.
Antony points out “the last 7 or 8 Queen’s Cups have been won by Adolfo or Facundo and their teams. We need new guys, young guys. Sport is about young people. It is the truth of all sport. You are tested by the young guys. They play without fear. Cambiaso can still beat the young guys with his eyes shut, [but] he is the exception.”
He sums up: “If you can’t beat the Cambiasos and the Facundo Pieres of this world with the players you have at the moment, who have never beaten them, it’s time to look for new players who can challenge the status quo… That’s the thing about young players – they have no fear, maybe through ignorance. But it doesn’t matter. Or it’s just arrogance. A combination of the two is what makes a great sportsperson.”
Anthony is optimistic that we could soon be seeing some new, young blood in high goal polo which will re-invigorate the sport at this level.