La Albertina Abu Dhabi Cabaña Pilagá is psyched for tomorrow’s game against Alegría in the Hurlingham Open—particularly because this season marks the first time the Sports Council of Abu Dhabi has sponsored a polo team and the first time La Albertina Abu Dhabi has competed in the Hurlingham and Argentine Opens.
The young 32-goal team was formed in 2015 in Pilar, and Saturday’s reorganized lineup has only been together four months. They are: Francisco Elizalde, Ignacio (Cubi) Toccalino, Santiago Toccalino and Alfredo Cappella Barabucci. Their goal is to establish La Albertina Abu Dhabi as a competitive team and finish in the top six to qualify for the 2018 Argentine Triple Crown.
The teamwas officially presented this week at the residence of the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saeed Rashed Alzaabi.
“Having the support of Abu Dhabi is very important for us; they are gambling on a new team," said Cubi Toccalino. “Santi has been preparing to play at #3. He has already played that position abroad, and I think that he will do a great job.”
Cubi said the team chemistry is very good. “The truth is that the bond between all of us came naturally. With Santi, well, he's my brother, so it was already there.”
Said Elizalde: “I am very happy to play the Open once again, and I am excited about the challenge. The team was rearranged, but we are ready to give everyone a run for their money. On a personal note, I feel like I am more organized.”
Argentine Open debut: 2013 (sub for Chapaleufú); played for Magual 2015
IGNACIO “CUBI” TOCCALINO
Argentine Open debut: 2007 for El Paraíso. This is his ninth year.
Argentine Open debut: 2014 for Miramar. This is his fourth year.
ALFREDO CAPPELLA BARABUCCI
Argentine Open debut: 2014 (sub for Alegría); played for Washington 2015 and 2016